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huffpost – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott calls special session after Democrats block voting restriction bill

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (right) has called a special session of the state legislature next month, a step that will likely ignite debate over a restrictive voting rights bill that failed in May after Democrats staged a last-minute strike to block legislation.

Abbott’s office did not immediately announce what items would be on the special session’s agenda, although the voting rights bill is widely seen as a primary focus. The New York Times, citing a GOP legislative staff member in Texas, confirmed that voting laws would be on the docket along with other efforts, including an overhaul of the state’s bail system.

The new session will start on July 8 and could last up to 30 days.

The move comes just weeks after a dramatic 11-hour walkout when Democrats drove out of state house, leaving the legislature below the 100-member threshold needed for a quorum. The effort was largely a token delay tactic as Republicans control both houses of the legislature.

Abbott was furious at the move and vowed to veto part of the state budget that funds the legislature. He did so earlier this month.

Senate Bill 7 was to be one of the most restrictive voting rights bills in the country, imposing new restrictions on absentee voting, empowering political party observers, and banning drive-throwing and voting. 24-hour polling stations.

The bill would also have made it easier to annul an election.

While many of these provisions were successfully passed during the COVID-19 pandemic, Republicans have, without evidence, castigated them as mechanisms of electoral fraud.

Lawmakers will be required to start any new legislation from scratch; however, they could use the final version of Senate Bill 7 as a framework and move forward quickly.

The restrictive bill is part of a national push by the GOP to restrict access to voting, an effort, critics say, will unduly target low-income Americans and communities of color. Republicans in the U.S. Senate also blocked debate on a landmark voting rights bill called the For the People Act on Tuesday.

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