Texas Republicans Advance New Voter Suppression Bill

The New York Times reports:

After an extraordinary all-night hearing, a Republican-backed bill to overhaul the state’s voting system cleared a key House committee in the Texas Legislature on Sunday morning, advancing the measure on an accelerated path toward a vote in the full 150-member chamber.

The vote by the House committee, which was conducted at about 7:30 a.m. after nearly 24 hours of debate and public comment, adheres to Gov. Greg Abbott’s timetable for swift action on the bill, which he has called a priority.

A vote by the full House on the measure, which voting rights groups call one of the most restrictive in the nation, is expected this week. All nine Republicans on the committee supported the bill, while the five Democrats voted against it.

The Texas Tribune reports:

State Sen. Bryan Hughes [photo], the Mineola Republican authoring the Senate legislation, lamented that debate over the bill had become “bitterly partisan,” but Republicans’ framing of the legislation has largely aligned with the GOP’s nationwide response to former President Donald Trump’s false claims of widespread voting irregularities.

Significant portions of both bills focus on shutting down local expansion of voting options meant to make it easier to vote, like the drive-thru voting and overnight early voting hours used by Harris County in the 2020 general election. Local officials have said both initiatives proved particularly successful in reaching voters of color.

Upon questioning by Democrats, Keith Ingram — the top elections official for the Texas Secretary of State — told lawmakers he was not aware of evidence of fraud tied to voting that occurred overnight or as part of Harris County’s drive-thru efforts.