Texas Senate passes GOP election reform bill after Democrat lawmakers leave state to stall vote

Enough Texas Democrats stayed in the state to allow the Senate to vote on the election reform bill.

Updated: July 13, 2021 - 8:57pm

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The Texas Senate passed its version of an election reform bill Tuesday. However, it is stalled until Texas House Democrats return.

In an 18 to 4 vote along party lines, Senate Republicans passed SB1, which would add new identification requirements for absentee and mail-in-voting, ban some early voting, and create new criminal penalties for breaking certain election codes, according to CBS News.

The bill passed despite Texas Democrats' attempt to deny Republicans a quorum, the number of legislators needed for the state legislature to conduct business. On Monday, 50 House Democrats and nine Senate Democrats fled the state to Washington D.C. to deny the quorum. However, 22 state senators remained, enough for the Senate to debate, vote on, and pass the bill.

"How much fraud's okay? None. How much suppression's okay? None," the bill's author, Republican state Sen. Bryan Hughes said Tuesday afternoon while debating the bill. "That's why this bill makes it easy to vote and hard to cheat."

The bill is not expected to go anywhere with the House not having enough members present for a quorum. Texas Democrats have not indicated they will return to the state to vote on laws until the special session is over.