Ahead of the special session called by Gov. Greg Abbott last month, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick announced that the Senate will not seek to reinstate the change in voting times on Sunday.
After Texas House Democrats temporarily blocked the GOP priority elections bill which would have imposed new limitations to early voting hours and curbed local voting options like drive-thru voting, the governor announced that he would open a special session in order to push through bills that died in the final hours of the regular legislative session.
Some Republicans had previously indicated that they planned to make changes to the controversial provision in the bill that affected the window for early voting on Sundays. The last-minute addition to the bill had raised concerns that it would harm get-out-the-vote efforts by Black churches, and had drawn substantial criticism from among Democrats.
“The Senate did not change Sunday Voting Hours in #SB7 or add wording to overturn elections. Neither will be in Special Election bill,” Patrick tweeted Tuesday in response to a column in the Quorum Report. “House was in control of writing #SB7 CCR drafts. Time they admit making those changes before the Special begins. Proof is clear.”
Patrick maintained that the Senate was not involved in legislative attempts to overturn elections, though critics have pointed to section 232.063 changes in SB7: “If the number of votes illegally cast in the election is equal to it greater than the number of votes necessary to change the outcome of an election, the court may declare the election void without attempting to determine how individual voters voted.”
Democrats have vowed to keep fighting and have not ruled out breaking the quorum again, but the overwhelming majority of Republicans in the Texas Capitol mean that election bills are likely to be passed. Republican Governor Greg Abbott has not yet presented the agenda for a 30-day special session.