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President Biden on Saturday slammed Texas Republicans for pushing ahead with a restrictive voting bill that he derided as “wrong and un-American.”
As lawmakers in the GOP-controlled state finalized the controversial bill, Biden denounced it as part and parcel of a shameful coast-to-coast effort to keep as many people of color as possible from voting after a record-setting turnout in 2020.
“It’s part of an assault on democracy that we’ve seen far too often this year — and often targeting Black and Brown Americans,” Biden said in a statement.
“In the 21st century, we should be making it easier, not harder, to vote,” the president added.
The bill, SB 7 in the Texas legislature, looks set for passage after Republican leaders in the state’s House and Senate agreed on final language.
The bill, which mirrors similar proposals in Florida and Georgia, would eliminate drive-thru voting, empower partisan poll watchers that critics say could intimidate voters, and limit voting on Sundays, when many Black churchgoers head to the polls.
The changes are on track to be approved before midnight on Sunday.
Gov. Greg Abbott, a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump and his unfounded lies about the 2020 election, says he will sign the measure.
The final version of the bill eliminates 24-hour polling stations and drive-thru voting centers introduced last year in Harris County, which is the state’s largest Democratic stronghold and includes the city of Houston.
Democrats and voting rights advocates vowed to challenge the new law in court.
Major corporations, including Texas-based American Airlines and Dell, have warned that the measures could harm democracy and hurt the state’s booming economy.
Republicans say the new rules are common-sense restrictions to prevent voter fraud, even though election officials from both parties say the 2020 vote was the fairest and most secure in history.
Democrats are pushing for Congress to pass new federal voting rights protections. But those efforts appear doomed in the Senate, where Republicans can use their filibuster power to derail them.