Texas Republicans advanced two voting restriction bills over the weekend during a special session. The controversial bills would impose voter ID requirements and limit early voting on Sundays, which critics say deliberately target Black voters. The restrictions also target voting options widely used by people with low incomes and people with disabilities.
In May, Democratic lawmakers walked out of the state House floor to prevent the passage of the bills. A special session scheduled by Texas Governor Greg Abbott began last week with an 11-point agenda including the two election-related bills. The bills advanced after the Senate and House voted along party lines to move the bill out of committee and onto the floor.
With the legislation, drive-through voting would be removed as an option in the state –– a popular option for voters who turned out during the pandemic –– and a ban on early voting before 1 p.m. on Sundays would be imposed. State judges would also have more authority to overturn an election under the bills.
With the voting restrictions bills advancing closer to a full floor vote, Democrats are reportedly planning to leave the state of Texas to block further action.
The move comes as several Republican-led states advance their own elections laws. Georgia, Arizona, and Florida have all passed election-related laws. After the November election, hundreds of election overhaul bills were introduced in over 40 states.
In June, the Department of Justice announced it was suing the state of Georgia for its voting restrictions legislation.