Texas Home anticipated to move election overhaul invoice Friday

By Dianne Gallagher and Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN

(CNN) – The Texas House of Representatives is expected to pass an election revision bill on Friday that will introduce new voting restrictions and penalties. This is the latest in a series of initiatives promoted by Republicans across the country aimed at restricting access to voting.

GOP-run Texas House advanced SB 7 on a vote of 81-64 parties to a third reading vote early Friday morning, about nine hours after it was launched on the floor. In a session after midnight, 18 amendments were adopted after intense behind-the-scenes negotiations led by Democrats to soften some of the language of the criminal penalties law.

However, proxies and Democrats conceded to CNN that there is a possibility that the amendments could be dropped as the bill will have to go back to the Senate after the bill is passed to reconcile the sharp differences between the two versions before final passage . The total overhead adds up to additional restrictions and penalties on the voting process for an alleged desire to crack down on electoral fraud despite no evidence of fraud being presented in the 2020 Texas election.

The current House version of the bill does not include some of the most controversial provisions of the Senate version, including a ban on drive-through voting and a requirement that a disability applicant must vote by mail to indicate that they have an illness or physical condition prevents them from taking part in the elections. However, since these measures were included in the Senate-approved version of the bill, they could be added back to a final version at a conference.

Democrats were also able to add amendments that allow the removal of election observers who violate the peace, as well as mitigate criminal penalties for voters who failed to realize they were ineligible, and decriminalize simple, fundamental mistakes made by volunteers and electoral judges.

However, legislation would continue to prohibit district officials from sending unsolicited absentee ballots.

Other provisions in the Senate draft passed last month would limit the extended early voting hours and give partisan poll observers broader powers to observe at a polling station, including allowing a voter to record assistance in submitting his or her ballot .

“Under cover of darkness, Texas House just passed one of the worst anti-voting laws in the country,” Sarah Labowitz, director of politics and advocacy for the ACLU of Texas, said in a statement. “SB 7 is aimed at colored voters, voters with disabilities, and civil servants who run our elections. Legislators have moved the bill forward with little debate or public input. They know that the bill is designed to suppress the vote by making it harder to vote and Election watchers admits to intimidate voters. Texans deserve better than to wake up and find out that lawmakers have jammed through a law that makes participating in our democracy more difficult and frightening. “

Texas law is just one of several Republican-backed laws across the country that restrict access to the ballot and set new voting limits after former President Donald Trump made unsubstantiated allegations of fraud in the 2020 election. Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis signed a controversial voting bill Thursday morning aimed at restricting access to mail-in voting in the state, and other Republican-controlled lawmakers are introducing a series of new state laws that impose voting restrictions .

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