The Republican-majority Texas State Senate passed a new sweeping election reform bill on Thursday with a slew of new voting restrictions, mostly affecting people in dense urban areas.

State Sen. Bryan Hughes (R) introduced measures in the Senate chamber which would reduce voting hours, give broader authority to partisan poll watchers, ban drive-though voting and limit early voting hours. “These are provisions that will apply across the board [to] every voter. They’re consistent, they’re fair, they’re about making it easier to vote … and make it hard to cheat. Every vote should count and every voter should know that their vote will be counted,” Hughes said on the Senate floor.

“Make no mistake, Senate Bill 7 will disproportionately restrict the right to vote of all eligible voters, but especially that of marginalized communities, and deny young, disabled, black and brown voters their voice in the rising Texas electorate,” executive director of the MOVE Texas Action Fund H. Drew Galloway said on Thursday. “Texas is already one of the hardest states to vote in in the country. We should be expanding the right to vote, not restricting it.”

Gilberto Hinojosa, Texas Democratic Party Chair, said in a statement Thursday, “Texas Republicans are delusional if they expect anyone to accept this legislation without a fight. We will fight tooth and nail to stop this bill from being signed into law, and if it is, we will see Republicans in court,” then calling the bill a “racist, terrifying attempt to plunge Texas back into Jim Crow.”


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The Texas bill will now move the state’s House of Representatives for debate. The Texas House is also Republican-controlled, meaning the bill will likely move forward.

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