The vote on Senate Bill 7 was 18-13 after more than seven hours of debate and several amendments to the legislation. The final language of those changes is not yet available online for CNN to review.
The amendments introduced on the floor by Republican state Sen. Bryan Hughes during the debate referenced making changes to controversial measures included in the initial bill language on poll watchers, voting hours, disability verification and the number of county polling locations.
The bill would ban drive-through voting and limit extended early voting hours.
Democrats and voting rights activists have sounded alarms over the legislation, calling it suppressive and noting that it appears to directly target voting methods used by Harris County, which includes the heavily Democratic city of Houston.
“Make no mistake, Senate Bill 7 will disproportionately restrict the right to vote of all eligible voters, but especially that of marginalized communities, and deny young, disabled, Black and Brown voters their voice in the rising Texas electorate,” H. Drew Galloway, MOVE Texas Action Fund executive director, said in a statement on Thursday morning.
“Texas is already one of the hardest states to vote in in the country. We should be expanding the right to vote, not restricting it.”
Gilberto Hinojosa, Texas Democratic Party Chair, called passage of the bill by Republicans as a “racist, terrifying attempt to plunge Texas back into Jim Crow.”
“Texas Republicans are delusional if they expect anyone to accept this legislation without a fight. We will fight tooth and nail to stop this bill from being signed into law, and if it is, we will see Republicans in court,” Hinojosa added.
Republicans have said the bill is about election security and integrity, even though Texas already has some of the most restrictive voting laws in the nation and there is no evidence of any widespread fraud.
“These are provisions that will apply across the board [to] every voter. They’re consistent, they’re fair, they’re about making it easier to vote … and make it hard to cheat. Every vote should count and every voter should know that their vote will be counted,” Sen. Bryan Hughes, a Republican and sponsor of the legislation said early Thursday morning ahead of the bill’s passage.
The total, released Thursday morning, marks a 43% rise in the number of bills introduced since Brennan last released a count a little over a month ago.
The legislation now heads to the Texas House of Representatives for committee consideration.