Speed Reads

voting rights fight

Texas legislature approves GOP voting restrictions bill, sending it to governor's desk

The Republican-controlled Texas legislature on Tuesday passed the final version of an election bill that would impose strict new voting rules, including limiting voting hours, banning drive-thru and 24-hour voting locations, and giving partisan poll watchers more access to sites.

The measure was opposed by Democrats, who argue that Texas already has some of the country's strictest voting rules and the new bill won't make elections any more secure. In July more than 50 Democratic lawmakers left Texas to ensure there wasn't a quorum and a vote on the bill couldn't be taken, but the standoff ended earlier this month after 38 days. "The emotional reasons for not voting for it are that it creates hardships for people because of the color of their skin and their ethnicity, and I am part of that class of people," state Rep. Garnet Coleman (D) said.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has said he will sign the measure, and is expected to do so this week. After the bill passed on Tuesday, Abbott said in a statement it will "solidify trust and confidence in the outcome of our elections by making it easier to vote and harder to cheat."