O'Rourke slams 'jokers' for passing voting limits in Texas

"These jokers can't even keep the lights on or the heat on or the water running, when the temperature drops in Texas. Now they want to take over our elections?" O'Rourke said during a voting rights rally in Austin, Texas.

He added: "They're trying to stop more people from voting in a state that is already the toughest in America in which to vote. "

Texas joined other Republican-controlled states on Friday in advancing a slew of new voting restrictions, defying opposition from many of the state's businesses and adding to a fierce national debate over voting rights.

The state House of Representatives in Austin gave the legislation preliminary approval on Friday after hours of debate before delivering final approval, largely along party lines.

Members of the House and the state Senate, which passed its own bill imposing voting limits last month, will now work to reconcile the two bills before sending a finalized version to Republican Governor Greg Abbott, who has indicated he will sign it.

Other states, including Georgia and Florida, have also enacted Republican-backed voting curbs after Republican former President Donald Trump falsely claimed his loss to Democrat Joe Biden in last year's presidential election was the result of massive voter fraud.

Video Transcript

BETO O'ROURKE: These jokers can't even keep the lights on or the heat on or the water running when the temperature drops in Texas. Now they want to take over our elections. Are you going to let them?

CROWD: No.

BETO O'ROURKE: No. Me neither. They're trying to stop more people from voting in a state that is already the toughest in America in which to vote. And what happens? Look. It's not an abstract thing.

What happens when you can't vote? You have no say over the quality of your kid's school. You have no say over who represents you on the city council. You have no say about affordable housing in your community. You have no say about justice, especially racial justice in this country.

I would ask you to call your Senator, but-- but-- but between inciting insurrection and taking off to the Ritz Carlton in Cancun when the-- when the temperature drops, he's got his plate full. So-- so this is what I want you to do. We've got a President in the White House who cares about us, every one of us-- Republican, Democrat, Independent-- wants to make sure that the voting rights in this country are respected. He needs to hear from you.

And we tell him, Mr. President, we're doing our part and we have lots of hope. But right now, we need some help. You need to use all of the political capital you have to push through the For the People Act. It is the 1965 Voting Rights Act of our day. I need you to call him.