Election integrity, which was an emergency item during the 87th Legislative Session, was placed on the agendas for both the first and second special session and signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott on Sept. 7. The Governor held the bill signing ceremony in Tyler, where he was joined by Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and the authors of the bill, Senator Bryan Hughes and Representative Andrew Murr.
"Senate Bill 1 ensures trust and confidence in our elections system — and most importantly, it makes it easier to vote and harder to cheat," said Governor Abbott. "Safe and secure elections are critical to the foundation of our state, and I thank Senator Hughes and Representative Murr for their leadership on this important issue. I am proud to sign Senate Bill 1 into law to uphold the integrity of our elections in Texas."
Senate Bill 1 creates uniform statewide voting hours, maintains and expands voting access for registered voters that need assistance, prohibits drive-through voting, and enhances transparency by authorizing poll watchers to observe more aspects of the election process. The bill also bans the distribution of unsolicited applications for mail-in ballots and gives voters with a defective mail-in ballot the opportunity to correct the defect.
Several Texas House Democrats released a joint statement following passage of the bill, before it became law.
“Senate Bill 1 has one purpose: to stop people from voting. More than that, it tries to stop certain people from voting – people that look like us, our families, and our communities. We cannot abide by that.
“At the end of the regular session, we started a campaign to preserve our freedom to vote, killing a voter suppression bill negotiated in the dark of night and meant to make it harder for all Texans to vote,” reads a portion of the statement.
“The quality of our policy reflects the quality of our process. If the majority cared about the process, they would have gone to every length to ensure transparency and good faith engagement with the public and with their colleagues in the minority party. They opted instead for a hasty, sloppy, self-serving process that has left the People’s House in shambles. We cannot in good conscience be a party to this farce.”
The statement was joined by Representatives Richard Raymond, Joe Deshotel, Eddie Rodriguez, Trey Martinez Fischer, Alma Allen, Mando Martinez, Sergio Munoz, Jr., Ron Reynolds, Celia Israel, Ramon Romero, Jr., Gina Hinojosa, Ana-Maria Ramos, Terry Meza, Carl Sherman, Sr., Vikki Goodwin, Chistina Moreles, Ray Lopez, Liz Campo and Jasmine Crockett.
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz released a statement applauding the new law.
"Today, Governor Greg Abbott signed SB 1, a bill to safeguard our elections in Texas, despite immense pressure from Democrats and the liberal media. The bill protects the voting rights of 29 million Texans and would make our elections in Texas accessible and secure. Texans don’t need Washington elites telling them how to safeguard and protect voting rights. When Texans go to cast a vote, that vote should count. I am grateful for the Republicans and the Leadership in the Texas Senate and House, especially state Sen. Bryan Hughes and state Rep. Andy Murr, who have been leading the fight to protect the integrity of elections in Texas. This should be a loud and clear message to Washington power-hungry politicians: states are the proper place to establish election laws and efforts by the federal government to take over our elections should never succeed."