(USA Features) The Texas state Senate has passed a major election reform bill following chaotic and contested results in several battleground states following the 2020 elections.
The measure passed mostly along party lines, with Democrats heavily criticizing it from within the state and around the country, The Epoch Times reported.
After a lengthy debate that stretched throughout the night, the measure passed around 6 a.m. Sunday morning, local time, during a closed-door session.
The House has until midnight Sunday to pass the same measure. GOP Gov. Greg Abbott has indicated he would sign the bill.
The measure gives more authority to poll watchers by allowing them new access inside polling areas. In addition, the bill creates more than a dozen new criminal penalties against election officials who are found guilty of restricting poll watchers’ movements.
Also, the bill allows a judge to void election outcomes if a number of fraudulent votes in any election are found that would change its outcome.
The bill also criminalizes the act of sending out mail-in ballots to people who did not ask for them.
“We want elections to be secure and accessible,” State Sen. Bryan Hughes, a Republican, told local media.
“The provisions of this bill apply equally across the board,” Hughes said in response to charges from Democrats that the bill would unfairly impact minorities.
Democrats railed against the bill, and at least one Democrat-aligned lawyer, Marc Elias, suggested that he will file a suit in the coming days against the measure if Abbott signs it into law.
In addition to Texas, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey have signed election integrity and reform bills in recent weeks.