AUSTIN – A bill to overhaul voting rules in the state failed to pass in the Texas House on Sunday night in a victory for Democrats and voting rights advocates. Sunday was the last day of the legislative session that the bill, Senate Bill 7, could have been passed, but it may be brought up again in the future.
SB7 failed to pass in the Texas House because a group of House Democrats walked out of the legislature, causing the House to lose quorum — in order for certain procedures to take place, such as passing legislation, a certain number of House members must be present — blocking Republicans from passing the bill despite their majority. Birnel said that was all made possible by the work of organizers.
The bill would place limits on early voting hours, drive-thru voting, and tighten restrictions on who can vote by mail. It would also expand the role that poll watchers can play, including allowing them to be closer to the polls and to record certain voters.
Republicans have called it a measure to ensure election integrity, despite the lack of evidence for widespread election fraud — the outgoing Texas Secretary of State Ruth Hughs told lawmakers earlier in the year that Texas’ election in 2020 was “smooth and secure.” Democrats and voting rights organizations have derided the bill as an attempt at voter suppression that would disproportionately harm racial and ethnic minorities.