Texas Democrats walked out of the state House’s chamber just before midnight on Sunday to deny Republicans the quorum needed to hold a final vote on a controversial bill that would tighten voting laws in the state.
Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican who supports the bill, said he will call for a special session. The bill has the support of Republicans in the state who see it as a common-sense approach to securing election integrity. Democrats see the bill as an attempt to discourage minorities from casting a ballot.
“Election Integrity & Bail Reform were emergency items for this legislative session,” Abbott tweeted late Sunday. “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 session.”
The bill known as Senate Bill 7 would have imposed a raft of election changes that eliminate drive-thru voting, empower partisan poll watchers and impose new requirements in order to cast a ballot by mail in Texas, which already has some of the toughest voting laws in the nation.
The bill was passed by the Texas Senate that included a new ID requirement for mail-in ballots, the Texas Tribune reported. The 67-page measure would also eliminate drive-thru voting and 24-hour polling centers, both of which Harris County, the state’s largest Democratic stronghold, introduced last year.