• The new bill would restrict voting opportunities for some voters
  • The bill would now ban 24-hour polling sites or drive through polling places
  • The measure would also give partisan poll watchers more access inside poll places

Texas Republican lawmakers Sunday moved closer toward signing a new bill that would make it harder for residents to vote.

Lawmakers in the state’s Senate debated for nearly seven hours before voting to pass the bill minutes after 7 a.m. ET. The state’s House is expected to vote on Senate Bill 7 on Sunday and will likely determine the outcome of the measure.

Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott has previously indicated that he will sign the bill into law once it passes the state House and Senate.

Under the new bill, Texans will be barred from using 24-hour polling sites or drive-through polling sites located in parking garages and lots. The bill would also place a ban on using mobile units as polling places, which voting rights advocates said helped Black and Latino voters cast their ballots during the November 2020 election.

"They want to create long lines so that people of color — it's more difficult for them to vote on Sundays right after they go to church," Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Texas, told CNN.

"That's really what this bill is about: to have a chilling effect on voters of all stripes, and especially hard hit will be people of color."

The 67-page measure would allow partisan poll watchers more access inside poll places. Election officials who attempt to restrict their movements may face criminal penalties.

The bill would also make it easier for a judge to overturn an election in Texas if the number of fraudulent votes cast could potentially change the result. The judge may decide to overturn the election regardless of whether it was proved that fraud changed the outcome of the voting.

If the House votes to pass the bill, election officials will no longer be allowed to send applications to vote by mail to residents who did not request for it. Anyone who requests absentee ballots is also now required to provide their driver’s license number or Social Security number.

President Joe Biden on Sunday condemned the bill, calling it an attack on “the sacred right to vote.”

“Today, Texas legislators put forth a bill that joins Georgia and Florida in advancing a state law that attacks the sacred right to vote," Biden said in a statement first provided to The Texas Tribune. "It's part of an assault on democracy that we've seen far too often this year — and often disproportionately targeting Black and Brown Americans."

Voting machines
Voting machines are shown at a polling location on June 9, 2020 in West Columbia, South Carolina. Georgia, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina and West Virginia hold primaries today. Sean Rayford/Getty Images