AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Texas Legislature has signed off on a sweeping GOP rewrite of election laws after months of protests by Democrats.
The nearly 75-page bill that won final approval Tuesday in both the House and Senate would ban 24-hour polling locations and empowers partisan poll watchers.
It also would make it a crime for elections officials to send mail-in ballot applications to voters who don’t ask for one.
It now goes to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who immediately after the vote announced he'll sign it.
"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," Abbott said in a statement.
Statement on passage of election integrity legislation: https://t.co/DGXIMtMKtP pic.twitter.com/DT4qByLxcZ
— Gov. Greg Abbott (@GovAbbott) August 31, 2021
Democrats twice this summer walked out on the bill to stop it from passing. That included fleeing to Washington, D.C., and refusing to come back to the state Capitol for 38 days.
The Texas Democratic Party thanked those who fought the bill, which it calls "racist."
TX Republican Lawmakers pass racist, anti-democracy bill #SB1 -- cementing TX’s ranking as the hardest state in the U.S. to vote in.
We thank @TexasHDC for holding the line, and urge @SenateDems to act quickly to pass the #JohnLewisVotingRightsAct to preserve our right to vote.
— Texas Democrats (@texasdemocrats) August 31, 2021