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The Texas legislature on Tuesday passed a hard-fought voter ID bill that Democrats fled the state to block.
The Republican-sponsored bill establishes ID requirements for mail-in voting, allows voters to correct mail-in ballots that have technical errors, bans the controversial practice of drive-thru voting, and requires the secretary of state to make sure non-citizens are not voting, among other changes.
Texas governor Greg Abbott (R.) said in a statement that the bill “will solidify trust and confidence in the outcome of our elections by making it easier to vote and harder to cheat.”
Texas Democrats have called the bill “racist,” with failed presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke saying it will lead to “voter suppression” of blacks and Hispanics.
Fifty Democratic members of the Texas House of Representatives chartered a private plane and flew maskless to Washington, D.C., in an attempt to prevent Republicans from passing the bill. At least 6 of the 50 Democrats tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after. The legislators also possibly gave the deadly virus to a staffer for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.).
The Texas Supreme Court on Aug. 10 allowed Abbott to arrest or detain the runaway Democrats, but enough members returned in August that the state House was able to reach a quorum. Abbott has said he will sign the voter ID bill.