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Texas state senator wearing tennis shoes filibusters for 15 hours in a stand against Republican voting bill

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Texas State Sen. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston
Texas State Sen. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston, wore running shoes as she prepared to filibuster Senate Bill 1, a voting bill, at the Texas Capitol Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021, in Austin, Texas. AP Photo/Eric Gay
  • Texas state Sen. Carol Alvarado filibustered for 15 hours in opposition to a Republican election bill.

  • Alvarado, a Democrat, spoke continuously from about 5:50 pm on Wednesday to Thursday morning.

  • The bill passed the state Senate along party lines immediately after her filibuster.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Democratic state Sen. Carol Alvarado of Texas spoke on the Senate floor for 15 hours in opposition to a Republican-backed election bill, making for the longest Texas Senate filibuster since 2013.

Wearing a back brace and comfortable tennis shoes, Alvarado started speaking at 5:50 pm Central Time on Wednesday and continued through the night, ending her filibuster at around 8:55 am on Thursday.

During her filibuster, Alvarado was required to speak continuously and could not eat, drink, lean on anything, or leave the chamber, the Texas Tribune reported. She also had to keep her comments germane, or relevant, to the bill at hand.

"Voter suppression anywhere is a threat to democracy everywhere. As we draw this discussion to an end, it is my sincere hope that civil acts by everyday Texans - from the Senate floor to the ballot box - can help to shed light on all important issues," she said at the end of her remarks.

Alvarado, who represents Houston, surpassed the 13-hour filibuster delivered by former state Sen. Wendy Davis in 2013, whose stand against an anti-abortion bill catapulted her into the national spotlight, spurring an unsuccessful 2014 gubernatorial run and 2020 congressional campaign.

Immediately after Alvarado finished her filibuster on Thursday morning, the state Senate passed the bill along party lines by a vote of 18-11. It heads next to the Texas House of Representatives.

Senate Bill 1 prohibits many of the measures that election officials in Harris County, which Alvarado represents, undertook to make voting easier during the COVID-19 pandemic, including holding 24/7 voting hours during early voting and offering drive-thru voting.

The bill also adds new identification requirements for absentee voting, new rules for those assisting voters, restrictions and possible penalties for election officials, and enhanced protections and access for partisan poll watchers.

Republicans argue that the bill is needed to shore up the integrity of elections, despite the lack of evidence of any substantial fraud in 2020. Democrats like Alvarado say it mounts unnecessary barriers to voters, adds more punitive requirements for election offiicals, and is premised on a fundamental lie.

"Lett's be clear: instead of making it easier to vote, this bill makes it easier to intimidate," Alvarado said. "Instead of making it harder to cheat, it makes it harder to vote. After all the rhetoric...this truly comes down to the people who trusted us with their vote, who sent us to Austin to empower their voices -- not to silence them."

Alvarado's filibuster was the latest step that Democrats in the state legislature have taken to block their Republican colleagues from passing election legislation during summer 2021's special legislative sessions.

After walking out to block the passage of a previous bill at the end of the regular session in late May, a large contingent of Democrats in the state House left Texas in mid-July in order to deny the quorum necessary to pass any bills. Many headed to Washington, DC to lobby lawmakers in Congress on federal voting rights protections.

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