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Abbott signs long-contested voting bill Tuesday

Gov. Greg Abbott signed a new voting bill into law on Tuesday. (Youtube)

After multiple special sessions and a legislative walkout, Gov. Greg Abbott signed his landmark voting bill in Tyler on Tuesday.

"One thing that all Texans can agree on... is that we must have trust and confidence in our elections," Abbott said at the signing. "The bill that I'm about to sign helps to achieve that goal."

The new law, SB 1, will ban drive-thru and 24-hour voting, expand early voting, require ID information in mail-in ballots and allow poll-watchers to monitor polls with fewer restrictions. Proponents, including Abbott and GOP lawmakers, have called the law an "election integrity" law that will combat voter fraud while Democrats and other opponents say the "voter restrictions" law could disproportionately affect minority voters.

"The bottom line of what the law does is what the members around me have said all along the Texas law it does make it easier than ever before for anybody to go cast a ballot," Abbott said. "It does, however, make sure that it is harder for people to cheat at the ballot box in Texas."

The bill was one of Abbott's top priorities in the Texas legislative session in May but was stymied as House Democrats broke quorum to prevent the bill from signing into law. Abbott proposed a special session due largely to the voting bill among others in July, but many Democrats were once again no-shows as they fled to Washington, D.C. to break quorum. An undeterred Abbott called in another special session, and enough Democrats returned so that the bill could pass onto the governor's desk on Aug. 31.

The voting law joins other landmark rulings that went into effect Sept. 1, including a strict abortion law, permitless carry laws, restrictions on the teaching of "critical race theory" and power grid reforms.


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