WASHINGTON, D.C. — After seven hours of debate late into the night, the Texas state Senate advanced Senate Bill 7 early Thursday morning. The bill, which was introduced just two weeks ago and pushed through a key state Senate committee despite hours of public testimony against it, would enact new restrictions on early voting hours, ban drive-thru voting and prevent election officials from proactively mailing out absentee ballot request forms to qualified voters.
Despite Republican control of the Legislature, Democrats saw huge boosts in turnout in Texas in 2020, thanks in large part to early and drive-thru voting expansions that made it easier and safer for at-risk voters to cast their ballots during the pandemic. Republicans are now targeting those measures under the guise of election security, following in the path of their national colleagues who have promoted former President Donald Trump’s “Big Lie” about the 2020 election results.
After its speedy passage through the state Senate, the bill now moves to the Texas House before heading to the governor’s desk.