A controversial GOP-backed voting restrictions bill has cleared its last hurdle in the Texas Legislature and is now headed to Republican Governor Greg Abbott‘s desk for a final signature.
Senate Bill 1 passed along party lines Tuesday in both the Texas House and Senate after a conference committee released the bill’s final draft on Monday.
The bill would prohibit drive-thru and 24-hour voting, add protections for partisan poll watchers and change laws related to voting by mail. Supporters have said the bill is needed to create uniformity in elections and reduce the likelihood of fraud, but opponents say it will disenfranchise voters.
House Democrats broke quorum during the regular legislative session in May and again during the July special session in an attempt o stop the legislation. When lawmakers returned for the second special session in August, there again weren’t enough Democrats present to conduct business on the House floor or in committee. But as time passed, more lawmakers returned until a quorum was met.
Abbott said he would sign the bill, which could happen in the coming days.
“Protecting the integrity of our elections is critical in the state of Texas, which is why I made election integrity an emergency item during the 87th Legislative Session. I thank Sen. Brian Hughes, Rep. Andrew Murr, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and Speaker Dade Phelan for stepping up to ensure that this bill made it to the finish line during the second special session,” Abbott said in a prepared statement minutes after the bill passed. “Senate Bill 1 will solidify trust and confidence in the outcome of our elections by making it easier to vote and harder to cheat. I look forward to signing Senate Bill 1 into law, ensuring election integrity in Texas.”
Once Abbott has signed the bill into law, Texas will join other states like Georgia and Florida that passed voting restriction bills earlier this year.
In June, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Georgia alleging that its law violates the Voting Rights Act.