Texas GOP pushes ballot bill forward after Democrats end weeks-long walkout

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Texas Republicans introduced a controversial voting bill this week, slashing Democrats’ chances of sinking it following a weeks-long legislative walkout.

The bill passed the Texas house on a 79-37 vote, mostly based on party line, after Democrats returned to the chamber last week, giving Republicans the necessary quorum to vote.

The House has held two special sessions since the end of the May regular session, with some Democrats stepping out to deny their colleagues a quorum so the bill could not move forward.

More than 50 Texas Democrats left the state and traveled to Washington, DC, in July to lobby Congress for voting rights legislation.

TEXAS HOUSE BACK TO BUSINESS AS ENOUGH DEMOCRATS RETURN TO FORM THE QUORUM

On Wednesday, the United States House passed federal voting rights legislation that Congressional Democrats say is a step forward in their quest to tackle advanced voting restrictions in states like Texas. But Democrats lack the votes to overcome opposition from Senate Republicans.

Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan R-Orange presides over as the House prepares to debate Bill SB1 on Thursday, August 26, 2021, in Austin, Texas.  (Associated press)
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Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan R-Orange presides over as the House prepares to debate Bill SB1 on Thursday, August 26, 2021, in Austin, Texas. (Associated press)

While Republicans say the bill, which would ban drive-thru voting and impose more restrictions on postal voting, aims to make elections safer, Democrats say it is a removal of voting rights. voters targeting voters of color in particular.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has made the bill a top priority and says he will sign it as soon as it is on his desk.

A protest by a group of Texas Democrats appears to have failed to produce the desired result.  (Julie Johnson, Texas)

A protest by a group of Texas Democrats appears to have failed to produce the desired result. (Julie Johnson, Texas)

The bill will now return to the state Senate, which has already passed a similar one, leaving Democrats little power to stop it.

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For more than 12 hours, House Republicans defended the changes as guarantees while Democrats, who proposed a series of rejected attempts to relax the bill, continued to say it would have a disproportionate impact on people. colored. At one point, Republican Dade Phelan, the Speaker of the House, interrupted lawmakers to tell them not to accuse each other of racism – or even to say the word.

But in the end, the bill passed easily, just as Democrats knew it would be when they got back.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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