WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Tuesday afternoon, Republicans in the Texas House of Representatives and subsequently, in the state Senate, voted for the final time to pass Senate Bill 1, the omnibus voter suppression bill that has been the focus of national attention all summer. After the bill failed in Texas’ regular legislative session thanks to Democrats’ coordinated walk-out from the chamber, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) called two special sessions during the summer in an effort to pass the legislation. The bill now heads to the desk of Abbott, who is expected to sign it into law.
The Texas House of Representatives passed a version of the bill on Friday after several revisions. Instead of voting for its passage on Friday evening, the state Senate sent the bill to a conference committee to reconcile differences between the chambers’ versions. Sen. Bryan Hughes (R), the original author of S.B. 1, objected to Amendment 58, a bipartisan House amendment to prevent criminal prosecutions of people who unknowingly voted while ineligible. The amendment was inspired by Crystal Mason — a Texas woman sentenced to five years in prison for casting a provisional ballot while on parole — but was removed by the conference committee.
During the 2020 elections, officials instituted drive-thru and overnight early voting for the first time, widely seen as inclusive measures to make voting more accessible. S.B. 1 bans these measures, which were particularly popular in urban, Democratic-leaning counties, and institutes a wide range of other restrictions which disproportionately impact low-income voters and people of color.