It took several months, but Texas Republicans have finally enacted their much-debated bill rolling back voting access in the Lone Star State.
Back in the spring, disagreements between Senate and House Republicans delayed the final vote on the proposal until the last day of Texas’s regular legislative session, making it easy for Democrats to kill that bill by leaving the capitol early that day, since the Texas Legislature requires a two-thirds quorum in order to hold a vote. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott then called a special session for July, in part specifically to pass the voting restrictions, but state House Democrats paralyzed it by fleeing the state in order to prevent the bill’s passage. However, Abbott simply called yet another special session to start immediately after the first ended, and after nearly six weeks away, enough Democrats returned to the state to allow legislative business to continue. The controversial elections bill finally passed the legislature late last month — though not before a 15-hour talking filibuster in the Senate and an impassioned 12-hour debate in the House — and Abbott signed it into law on Tuesday.
The Texas law is likely the culmination of the large-scale Republican push to restrict voting access this spring and summer — the policy byproduct of former President Donald Trump’s unfounded claims that the 2020 election was fraudulent. At this point in the year, most state legislatures are now out of session, so we are close to being able to close the book on our tracking of these restrictions for 2021. Based on data from the Brennan Center for Justice and the Voting Rights Lab as well as our own research, we now count 52 new voting restrictions that have been enacted this year in 21 different states. And 41 of the 52 were sponsored primarily or entirely by Republicans.