After months of dispute, during which nearly 60 Democrats fled the state in protest, the election integrity bill proposed by the GOP in the Texas legislature passed on Friday. The Texas Senate must still vote on it before it goes to Gov. Greg Abbott for his signature, The Hill reports.
The Texas bill to ensure election integrity and make it harder for voter fraud to be perpetrated passed the Texas House in an 80-41 vote. The intention of the bill is to provide solutions to increase election integrity.
The bill bans paid ballot harvesting and drive-through voting, unless certain requirements are met. It requires voter ID for both mail-in and in-person voting, with either a driver's license or the last four digits of the voter's social security number. It also makes it a crime for mail-in ballots to be sent to those who did not request them, and expands voting hours to 6 am to 10 pm.
Abbott had called a special session of the state House in order to get a vote on the bill, but rather than vote, Democrat lawmakers high-tailed it on chartered planes to Washington, DC.
Once there, they met with Vice President Kamala Harris to state their case that there needed to be federal legislation passed in order to prevent the state of Texas, and others, from passing election integrity laws.
The US House has yet to pass their "For the People Act," which would prohibit states from making their own laws to ensure the integrity of elections, and would have broad, sweeping ramifications for state power, as well as federal overreach into local election procedure.
Texas Democrats are still pushing for the federal government to make impossible laws like the one that was just passed.
Texas state House Democratic Caucus Chair Chris Turner reportedly said that he and his colleagues didn't expect that they would be able to prevent the bill from passing, as they were outnumbered. But he did say that their preference would be for the federal government to step in.
"From the very beginning of this fight," Turner said, "we knew we wouldn't be able to hold off this bill forever. That's why federal voter protection legislation is essential. Our 38-day quorum break and hard work in Washington, DC led to the US House passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act sooner than anticipated."
"Now," he said, "the US Senate must do the same to protect Texas voters from continued Republican attacks on their freedom to vote."