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Texas lawmakers to consider sweeping voting restrictions

World Jul 10, 2021 06:11AM ET
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3/3 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks at the annual National Rifle Association (NRA) convention in Dallas, Texas, U.S., May 4, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo 2/3

By Julia Harte

(Reuters) - Texas lawmakers will consider new voting restrictions on Saturday as part of a special legislative session called by Republican Governor Greg Abbott after Democrats blocked earlier versions of the legislation in a dramatic walkout.

Republican state senators introduced their latest version of the bill, now known as SB 1, on Thursday, sparking outcry from Democrats and voter advocates who said it was being rushed through the legislative process to avoid public scrutiny.

Lawmakers will consider SB 1 and its House counterpart in committee hearings early on Saturday.

The timing of the hearings suggested they could occur simultaneously, making it difficult for opponents to testify on both measures, said Anthony Gutierrez, Texas director of good-government watchdog Common Cause.

On May 30 during the regular legislative session, Democratic lawmakers denied Republicans the quorum needed to pass the original measures. It was a notable victory for Democrats, who have unsuccessfully fought a slew of similar laws passed since the beginning of the year in other Republican-controlled states.

The Republicans' new proposals in Texas overlap significantly with the original versions in limiting early voting hours, adding new identification requirements to mail-in voting and empowering partisan poll watchers. They do not include a controversial limit to Sunday early voting hours, which some Republican lawmakers said had been erroneously included in the original legislation.

At a Friday press conference, Democratic state senators called for a hearing on their own voting reform counter-proposal. Their bill would extend the early voting period, enable online voter registration, give voters a chance to fix mistakes on mail-in ballots and require that poll watchers receive training from the secretary of state.

Texas state Senator Royce West, a Democrat, said he hoped the legislature's Republican leaders would be willing to "strike compromises" between SB 1 and his party's alternate bill.

"Let me assure you, we'll do everything in our power to get a hearing on this bill," he said, though he acknowledged it was unlikely Republican leaders would grant that wish.

Texas state Senator Bryan Hughes, the chairman of the Texas Senate's Committee on State Affairs, which is hearing SB 1 on Saturday, did not respond on Friday to requests for comment on whether his committee would hear the Democrats' bill.

Texas lawmakers to consider sweeping voting restrictions
 

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Comments (3)
Martin Lewis
Martin Lewis Jul 10, 2021 2:10PM ET
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Over 70% of the US population is in favor of voter ID. Your North Korean-style propaganda calling it "voting restrictions" and other such nonsense is failing miserably. Even black people are coming out saying not to use them as an excuse, claiming they are too stu.p.iid to figure out how to get an ID. You want COVID passports and ID for guns and ID to drive, but only voter ID is racist? Everybody knows it is simply because democrats know they cannot win elections legitimately with their current platform. The lost half a dozen house seats and we are to believe a guy who could not even get 100 people to attend his rallies got the most votes of any president after having to halt counting in the middle of the night in swing states when Trump was ahead and magically they found boxes of Biden ballots after border up windows.
Martin Lewis
Martin Lewis Jul 10, 2021 2:10PM ET
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even after being banned by the tech companies that have colluded with the DNC, Trump have over a million viewers online of his rallies over the past few weeks. biden speeches cannot even get 1k viewers and have massive number of downvotes even on youtube.
Martin Lewis
Martin Lewis Jul 10, 2021 2:08PM ET
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Over 70% of the US population is in favor of voter ID. Your North Korean-style propaganda calling it "voting restrictions" and other such nonsense is failing miserably. Even black people are coming out saying not to use them as an excuse, claiming they are too stu.p.iid to figure out how to get an ID. Everybody knows it is simply because democrats know they cannot win elections legitimately with their current platform. The lost half a dozen house seats and we are to believe a guy who could not even get 100 people to attend his rallies got the most votes of any president after having to halt counting in the middle of the night in swing states when Trump was ahead and magically they found boxes of Biden ballots after border up windows.
John Doe
ForexInsiders Jul 10, 2021 9:20AM ET
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"Texas lawmakers to consider sweeping voting protections" There fixed your title Reuters
 
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