Texas GOP backs off changes to Sunday voting before next try

Jul 6, 2021, 4:37 PM | Updated: 6:54 pm

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas Republicans are backing off two contentious voting measures ahead of a second attempt to pass new election laws, after Democrats temporarily thwarted a restrictive bill in May by staging a dramatic walkout from the state Capitol.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said Tuesday that a special session starting this week will not revive changes to polling hours on Sunday — when many Black churchgoers cast their ballot — or wording that would have made it easier for judges to overturn an election. Republicans had inserted both into a sweeping bill at the last minute in May, which partly fueled Democrats’ revolt.

“Neither will be in Special Election bill,” Patrick tweeted.

It came on top of weeks of Republicans distancing themselves from those provisions, adding up to a tacit acknowledgment of GOP missteps both political and legislative in their final rush to pass new voting laws in Texas. Democrats have pointed to the efforts as evidence of trying to make it harder for their side to win and not, as Republicans argue, election safeguards.

“It’s illustrative of how far they tried to overreach, and now they’re embarrassed by what they tried to do,” said state Rep. Chris Turner, chairman of the House Democratic caucus.

Texas Republicans have yet to unveil their second attempt at voting legislation, making it unclear what provisions they still plan to pursue this summer. They had also sought to ban 24-hour polling locations, drive-thru voting and empower partisan poll watchers.

The special session that begins Thursday will be the first time lawmakers are back at work since Democrats’ late-night revolt over the Memorial Day weekend. The GOP’s overwhelming majority in the Texas Capitol means it is likely an elections bill will pass, although Democrats have vowed to continue fighting and have not ruled out breaking quorum again.

Since the walkout, Republicans have pointed fingers over the final version of the failed bill, even though GOP negotiators signed off on it and the Senate author, Republican Bryan Hughes, defended the revisions on the floor before a final vote.

Patrick’s tweet was in response to a column in The Quorum Report, which covers Texas politics. His office did not respond to a request for comment about provisions he expects the new bill to include.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has yet to lay out an agenda for the 30-day special session, but he has demanded new election laws and vetoed funding for the legislative branch after the walkout.

The lieutenant governor in Texas presides over the state Senate, making it one of the state’s most powerful offices. Other Republicans have previously suggested the language that prohibited Sunday voting morning — a time widely used by Black churchgoers in “souls to the polls” campaigns — was a typo and would be corrected in a special session.

Under the other provision, a judge could have voided a candidate’s victory if the number of fraudulent votes cast could change the outcome, regardless of whether it was proved that the fraud actually had affected the result.

Nationwide, Republicans have rushed to enact a wave of strict voting laws in response to former President Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - A man receives the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at Jabra Hospital in Khartoum, Sudan, Thursd...
Associated Press

Nonprofits launch $100M plan to support local health workers

A new philanthropic project hopes to invest $100 million in 10 countries, mostly in Africa, by 2030 to support 200,000 community health workers, who serve as a critical bridge to treatment for people with limited access to medical care. The Skoll Foundation and The Johnson & Johnson Foundation announced Monday that they donated a total […]
4 hours ago
The cargo ship Polarnet arrives to Derince port in the Gulf of Izmit, Turkey, Monday Aug. 8, 2022. ...
Associated Press

Ship carrying grain from Ukraine arrives in Istanbul

ISTANBUL (AP) — The first of the ships to leave Ukraine under a deal to unblock grain supplies and stave off a potential global food crisis arrived at its destination in Turkey on Monday. The Turkey-flagged Polarnet docked at Derince port in the Gulf of Izmit after setting off from Chornomorsk on Aug. 5 laden […]
4 hours ago
A person walks by a SoftBank shop on Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, in Tokyo. Japanese technology company So...
Associated Press

Japan tech giant SoftBank posts $23 billion quarterly loss

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese technology company SoftBank Group posted a $23.4 billion loss in the April-June quarter as the value of its investments sank amid global worries about inflation and interest rates. SoftBank Group Corp.’s loss of 3.16 trillion yen was a reversal from its 762 billion yen profit in the same quarter a year […]
4 hours ago
Exterior damage from a fire is seen at the Mountain B pub in the Sattahip district of Chonburi prov...
Associated Press

Thai pub owner charged in connection with deadly blaze

BANGKOK (AP) — The owner of a music pub in eastern Thailand where a fire last week killed 15 people and injured more than three dozen others was released on bail when he was brought to court Monday to hear criminal charges against him. Pongsiri Panprasong, owner of the Mountain B pub in Sattahip district […]
4 hours ago
Associated Press

Productivity, consumer prices, Cardinal Health earns

A look at some of the key business events and economic indicators upcoming this week: ECONOMIC BELLWETHER Economists project that U.S. worker productivity fell in the April-June period for the second consecutive quarter. The Labor Department is expected to report Tuesday that nonfarm labor productivity fell in the second quarter at an annual rate of […]
4 hours ago
Liudmila Samsonova, of Russia, poses with the trophy after she won the final at the Citi Open tenni...
Associated Press

Russian tennis players collect 3 titles at US Open tuneups

WASHINGTON (AP) — It was quite a week for Russia’s professional tennis players — four tournaments, three titles. One of them, Liudmila Samsonova, thinks it might not be merely a coincidence that this recent run of success for her, Daria Kasatkina and Daniil Medvedev comes shortly after they were banned from competing at Wimbledon because […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
Texas GOP backs off changes to Sunday voting before next try