Texas G.O.P. to Renew Voting Push as Abbott Calls Special Session

Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas on Tuesday called a special session of the Texas Legislature that will begin on July 8, a move that revives Republicans’ effort to enact what are expected to be some of the most far-reaching voting restrictions in the country.

Mr. Abbott, a Republican, was forced to call for a special session after Democratic lawmakers staged an eleventh-hour walkout last month that temporarily foiled the Republican effort to overhaul the state’s election systems and delayed other G.O.P. legislative priorities.

Now the new session restarts the clock.

Republicans will have to start the process from scratch, but it is possible they will simply use the final version of the bill that failed to pass in May as a starting point. Given that the party has control of both chambers of the Legislature, its leadership could pass a new bill along party lines.

Mr. Abbott did not specify on Tuesday what proposals the special session would address, but a Texas Republican legislative staff member confirmed that the session would address the state’s voting laws. Texas Republicans may also pursue other legislative goals, including an overhaul of the state’s bail system.

The initial voting bill, known as S.B. 7, contained new restrictions on absentee voting; granted broad new autonomy and authority to partisan poll watchers; escalated punishments for mistakes or offenses by election officials; and banned both drive-through voting and 24-hour voting, which were used for the first time during the 2020 election in Harris County, home to Houston and a growing number of the state’s Democratic voters.

The walkout by Democrats, which left Republicans short of the 100-member threshold necessary for a quorum to continue business, infuriated G.O.P. leaders in the state, who cast blame across the State Capitol for failing to pass one of Mr. Abbott’s — and one of former President Donald J. Trump’s — legislative priorities.

Last week, the Texas Democrats who organized the walkout made a pilgrimage to Washington in a last-ditch effort to persuade recalcitrant senators to pass federal voting reforms that were headed to certain failure on Tuesday.

“We knew he would call us back to pass the voter suppression bill,” State Representative Gina Hinojosa said on Tuesday after Mr. Abbott’s announcement. “That’s why we flew to Washington to plead our case to the U.S. Senate. As the minority party, we can only block the G.O.P. attack on democracy for so long.”

While the Democrats were able to halt the passage of the voting bill through the late-night exodus, it was built upon months of opposition and legislative maneuvering against the bill that helped lead to its demise, holding lengthy question-and-answer periods and extensive debates to force late-night votes and delays in the process.

But voting will not be the sole item on the agenda in Texas. Mr. Abbott signaled that he wanted multiple priorities addressed before the Legislature returns in September for what is likely to be a contentious battle over redistricting.

The governor has indicated he wants a bill passed to overhaul the state’s bail system, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, also a Republican, has called on the Legislature to pass a bill limiting transgender athletes from competing in school sports and another bill seeking censorship of social media companies.

The Texas Legislature shifted sharply to the right during the most recent legislative session, passing aggressive measures that included a near-ban on abortion and a bill allowing the carrying of handguns without permits.

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