After months of legislative delays and intense opposition from Democrats at a state and national level, Republicans celebrated the passage of the elections bill that tightened already strict voting rules.
“Senate Bill 1 will solidify trust and confidence in the outcome of our elections by making it easier to vote and harder to cheat. I look forward to signing Senate Bill 1 into law, ensuring election integrity in Texas,” Abbott said in a statement minutes after the bill passed.
Author of the legislation Bryan Hughes also took to Twitter to celebrate, thanking Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dade Phelan “for the support of election integrity and for never wavering in the face of national pressure.”
Over the course of the summer, the legislation was met with frequent roadblocks as Democrats twice delayed similar legislation, first with a walkout during the regular session, and then by traveling to Washington D.C. during the first special session. Republicans responded by threatening them with arrest and Abbott vetoing the paychecks of thousands of rank-and-file staffers.
The bill’s passage deals a heavy defeat to Democrats who describe it as a brazen attempt to disenfranchise minorities and other Democratic-leaning voters. While in Washington, the Democrats had urged Congress to pass federal voting protections and ahead of the vote Monday, many Democrats across the state repeated that call to action — and said the fate of Texas voters was now in the hands of federal lawmakers.
“Voter suppression has passed in Texas,” tweeted former presidential candidate and voting rights advocate Beto O’Rourke. “But Texas Dems fought hard, beat back some of the worst provisions & took the fight to the one place it can finally be won: our nation’s capital. This isn’t the time to give up or give in. This is the time to pass federal voting rights.”
The likelihood of that happening is slim: U.S. Senate rules currently require 60 members to pass such legislation and so far, President Biden has been silent on the issue, leaving most political experts to conclude Texas Democrats’ last hope is dead in the water.