Texas House approves a sweeping voting restrictions bill after multiple Democratic attempts to block it

Speaker of the House Dade Phelan, R-Orange, strikes his gavel as the House votes on an amendment to election bill SB1, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021, in Austin, Texas.
Speaker of the House Dade Phelan, R-Orange, strikes his gavel as the House votes on an amendment to election bill SB1, Thursday, August 26, 2021, in Austin, Texas.
  • The Texas House of Representatives on Thursday approved SB1, a bill that will make voting more difficult in the state.
  • The bill bans drive-thru voting and 24-hour voting options, and puts in place additional ID requirements for absentee voters.
  • Democrats have tried to block the bill by staging walkouts and fleeing the state.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

On Thursday, the Texas House of Representatives approved a bill that will make voting more difficult in the state. The wide-ranging SB1 legislation was voted through 79-37 on party lines in the Republican-led House and will now move to the Senate, where it is likely to pass.

SB1 would ban drive-thru voting and 24-hour voting options, and put in place additional ID requirements for absentee voters.

Democrats have tried for months to prevent the bill from going through by breaking quorum, where two-thirds of lawmakers are required for business to carry on.

In late May, House Democrats walked out en masse to prevent a vote on the bill before a midnight deadline. And in July, when Texas Governor Greg Abbott called a special session, Democrats fled the state, with the governor threatening to arrest Democratic lawmakers.

After a two-month political impasse, enough Democrats returned to Austin last week to meet a quorum for the vote to take place.

In 12 hours of debate, Democrats said the legislation would affect people of color disproportionately, while Republicans maintained that the changes are safeguards for the election process, reported the Associated Press.

Officials from Harris County - the most populous county in Texas - have said that people of color made up the majority of people who used the 24-hour voting option, reported NPR.

The state joins other GOP states such as Arizona, Florida, and Georgia in enacting voting restriction laws after the 2020 election, where Trump supporters baselessly alleged widespread voter fraud.

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