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Texas Senate Approves GOP Voting Reform Bill While Democratic Representatives Remain in Washington

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Kuldeep Singh
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Republican legislators in the Texas Senate passed Senate Bill 1 on a party-line vote of 18-4 on Tuesday, despite the fact that only 22 of the chamber’s 31 members were present. The remaining nine members flew to Washington, DC, alongside their Texas House of Representatives counterparts. 

Unlike the Texas House, the Senate was able to retain quorum and vote on Republican Texas Sen. Bryan Hughes’ proposed bill.

Hughes dismissed Tuesday opposition to his “common-sense reforms.”

“This bill is about making it both easy to vote and harder to cheat,” he said, arguing that the bill had been misconstrued amid the “horrible, misleading, false national debate coming out of Washington.” 

SB1, on the other hand, according to Texas Senate Democrats, will repeal a number of provisions that made it easier for underrepresented populations to have their views heard. The measure, among other things, seeks more access for the political poll watchers, a prohibition on 24-hour polling sites, and stricter identification requirements for absentee voting.

“Rather than continuing to fruitlessly debate Republicans who refuse to legislate in good faith, Texas Senate Democrats decided to take matters into their own hands in order to secure the voting rights of Texans — especially voters of colors, seniors and those with disabilities — and work with our partners at the federal level to pass voting rights legislation that would rein in discriminatory voter suppression laws and unfair redistricting practices,” wrote the Democratic senators who fled the state to push for federal voting reform legislation. 

Though the bill has been passed in the Texas Senate, it will remain in limbo until the Texas House reaches quorum. 

Amid the lawmakers’ trip to the US capital, Biden delivered a speech in which he panned the GOP state lawmakers’ reform bills as the “21st Century Jim Crow assault.” He asserted that Republicans are attempting to bully voters and capitalize off unfounded fears of US election security via new legislation in some 17 states. 

During the lawmakers’ visit to the US capital, Biden denounced the GOP state legislators’ reform bills as a “21st Century Jim Crow assault.” He stated that Republicans are seeking to intimidate voters and profit from false worries about the security of the US election by enacting new legislation in 17 states.

US Vice President Kamala Harris told Democratic lawmakers from Texas during a Tuesday meeting that “defending the right to vote is as American as apple pie.”

“I know what you have done comes with great sacrifice, both personal and political,” Harris told the lawmakers.

“You are doing this in support and defense of some of our nation’s highest ideals.”

Simultaneously, Texas Governor Greg Abbott and members of the Texas House of Representatives have stated their intention to hold their colleagues accountable for failing to do their responsibilities earlier this week.

Image Credit: Getty

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