The bill would make it harder for people to vote through unconventional methods.
Democrats in the Texas House of Representatives are preparing to fight against a voter suppression bill that was recently passed by the state Senate.
According to The Houston Chronicle, Texas Senate Bill 7 passed early Sunday morning.
The legislation would bar early voting past 9pm across Texas. It would also end drive-through voting, which was used in Houston’s Harris County during the 2020 presidential election.
Alongside putting curbs on unconventional voting methods used during the coronavirus pandemic, Senate Bill 7 would also place new restrictions on absentee ballots: counties and municipalities would not be allowed to use drop boxes, and anyone seeking to send a ballot by mail would have to prove that they have a disability which prevents them from voting in person.
The Houston Chronicle notes that Texas Republicans have claimed that these measures are necessary to prevent widespread voter fraud—despite there being no evidence that voter fraud occurred in the last election.
Nevertheless, conservatives have taken to parroting the “voter fraud” line since President Donald Trump lost out to Joe Biden.
“SB 7 is one of the most comprehensive and sensible election reform bills in Texas history,” said Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) and Rep. Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park), who co-authored the bill. “There is nothing more foundational to this democracy and our state than the integrity of our elections.”
While Republicans insist that Senate Bill 7 would affect all Texans equitably, Democrats have suggested that their right-wing counterparts are trying to suppress minorities.
Rep. Nicole Collier, a Fort Worth Democrat, said that people of color are those who are most likely to be affected by Senate Bill 7.
“There are so many measures in this bill that are harmful to all Texans, and I wish I could say that this is new, but this is not new,” Collier said during a weekend news conference. “In Texas, we have repeatedly seen measures put forth that were designed to limit our voice.”
Speaking at a difference virtual news conference on Sunday, Harris County Judge Linda Hidalgo said she cannot understand why Texas lawmakers would seek to make it harder for people to vote.
“They’ve recognized if they pander to the people who believe the election is stolen, that will help them politically; but those political points that they might score, that doesn’t justify tearing down our democracy,” Hidalgo said on Sunday. “You can’t go back from that—certainly not easily.”
The Texas NAACP has vowed to file a same-day lawsuit if Senate Bill 7 becomes law.