The Texas Senate approved an election reform bill on Thursday after Democrat state senators ended a 15-hour filibuster.
If signed into law, the bill would would add ID requirements for voting by mail and maintenance of voter rolls. The legislation also would expand early voting and require employers to give employees time off to vote.
“We talk about easy to vote and hard to cheat, and that’s what the bill’s about,” said state Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Texas.
The Republican-controlled state Senate passed the bill in an 18–11 vote along party lines after Democrat state Sen. Carol Alvarado finally stopped speaking at 9 a.m., ending the filibuster. She had been speaking on the floor since 6 p.m. the day prior.
Texas Democrats opposed the bill as they believe there is no credible evidence of widespread fraud. They also allege the bill will make it harder for some people to vote.
“What do we want our democracy to look like? Do we want our state to be more or less inclusive?” state Sen. Alvarado said. “Instead of making it easier to vote, this bill makes it easier to intimidate. Instead of making it harder to cheat, it makes it harder to vote.”
This comes after the group of Texas Democrats fled to Washington last month to delay a vote on the election bill. To persuade them to quickly return, the Texas Supreme Court ruled last week that those state representatives who did not show up to legislature could be issued arrest warrants. State House Speaker Dade Phelan signed arrest warrants for the missing 52 Democrat lawmakers on Tuesday. However, they reportedly have not yet returned to Texas and still remain in Washington, D.C.
The bill now heads to the Texas House of Representatives which is not currently in session because it lacks a quorum.