Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott finally brought the fiasco of the runaway Democrats to an end on Tuesday when he signed the new Texas election integrity bill into law.
Abbott said at the signing ceremony that all Texans could agree that the state must have “trust and confidence” in the state’s elections. He added that while the new law helps achieve that goal, it makes it harder “for fraudulent votes to be cast.”
The delays in final approval of the law started back in May when a group of Democrat members of the state House of Representatives walked out of the legislative session to deny the body the quorum needed to pass the bill or take care of others legislative business.
In July, those members then fled the state by private jet to continue the delay as self-described “fugitives.” A large group of the runaways enjoyed the hospitality of Democrats in Washington, D.C., who used them as public relations vehicles to push for federal election reforms.
After some court battles that ended in defeat for the runaways at the Texas Supreme Court, House Speaker Dade Phelan issued civil arrest warrants for members who were willfully absent from their duties. The arrest warrants were designed to force those members to return to the legislature to discharge their duties as elected officials.
The runaways began to trickle back into session until a quorum was restored on August 19. The final approval of the elections bill was eventually obtained in both houses of the Texas legislature last week.
The new law prohibits election officials in Texas from sending out unsolicited mail-in ballots and requires proof of identification with any mail-in voting procedures. The law also ends drive-through voting and requires that all voting and vote-counting locations be monitored at all times with livestream recorded video.
Although Republicans have supported the law as a security measure to combat election fraud, Democrats have complained that the law is discriminatory and targets minority votes unfairly. Several new lawsuits have been filed this week challenging the new law now that it has been enacted.