Justin Bullock, FISM News
After a hotly contested presidential election in 2020, which saw an unprecedented rise in mail-in voting due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many states are implementing voting reform legislation. In many states that were closely contested in 2020, including Florida, Georgia, and Arizona, new laws have already been passed to reform voting regulations for the state. Texas has followed suit and the debate over its new bill has attracted the attention of the President of the United States who released a statement last week in opposition to the Republican led proposal.
The Texas Bill is known as Senate Bill 7 and has already passed in the Texas Senate. The Texas Tribune summarized the effects of the law, “[Senate Bill 7] is an expansive piece of legislation that would alter nearly the entire voting process. It would create new limitations to early voting hours, ratchet up voting-by-mail restrictions and curb local voting options like drive-thru voting.” The bill was drafted and proposed by Texas Republicans and Texas Governor Greg Abbott has indicated his support for the legislation and his intention to sign it once it reaches his desk.
Opposition to the bill also runs along partisan lines with every Texas Democrat coming out in opposition to the bill and saying it represents voter discrimination and suppression. On Sunday night, the bill was put to a vote in the Texas House but almost all the Democratic representatives slowly left the legislative body and building before a final vote was taken. This meant that no resolution to the vote was achieved and the Texas House will have to re-assemble in a special session to finalize the vote.
Texas Democrats know that the bill will pass and be signed into law due to the Republican majority in the Texas Congress. As a result, they have resorted to extreme measures to avoid having to vote so as to delay the process as long as possible. Texas Republicans have condemned the Democrats’ actions and Texas Governor Abbott as well his Lieutenant Governor, Dan Patrick, took to Twitter to express their displeasure and resolve.
Election Integrity & Bail Reform were emergency items for this legislative session.
They STILL must pass.
They will be added to the special session agenda.
Legislators will be expected to have worked out the details when they arrive at the Capitol for the special session.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) May 31, 2021
I support @GregAbbott_Tx call for a Special Session for #SB7, #SB10, #SB12, #SB21 & #SB29 and #SB1311 and other key legislation. The Texas Senate passed all these priority bills months ago and we will again. The TxHouse failed the people of Texas tonight. No excuse. #txlege
— Office of the Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick (@LtGovTX) May 31, 2021