Texas state Rep. James White insisted on Newsmax Wednesday that the state's proposed election integrity bill contains "no voter restrictions" but instead allows several provisions that will encourage more people to vote.
"This bill extends hours for voting and early voting," the Texas Republican and chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety said on Newsmax's "Wake Up America." "There are provisions to make sure that if you're in line before the polling place closes officially, you will be able to stay in line and cast your vote."
The proposed legislation also allows extended time to mail in ballots, and more, said White.
"That's not voter suppression," he insisted.
Earlier this week, a group of 57 Texas Democrat legislators left the state to block a quorum required to convene a special session needed to vote on the bill. The group flew to Washington, D.C., and said that they will stay as long as necessary in order to deny the quorum.
One of the provisions most under fire calls for voter ID, and White said that back in 2011, during his first session in the statehouse, he co-authored and voted for a voter ID bill, which he said protects voters.
"Having voter ID doesn't go out of the window just because you do a mail ballot," said White. "It also protects voters. It protects their identity ... without a voter ID, when you go ask for a mail ballot application, anyone can show up and say that they're you and get a mail ballot application and actually vote. We had too many instances throughout the country where people went to the polling place to vote in person only to find out that someone had already cast a vote for them."
Meanwhile, after the Democrats fled the state, Gov. Greg Abbott has called special sessions and the Senate voted along party lines to approve the bill. Further, House members on Tuesday voted 76-4 to send law enforcement to find and return the absent Democrats "under warrant of arrest, if necessary."
"He will continue to call special sessions as he has the discretion to do under our Constitution until we get the quorum in both chambers and do the work that the people expect us to do in the Texas legislature," said White.
Under the state Constitution, each legislative chamber must have a quorum of two-thirds to conduct business, meaning 21 senators must be present and 100 must be in the House.
"Yesterday, we were not able to achieve that 100 member quorum, so we had a call on the House to the speaker to lock the doors, and he has summoned the sergeant and state law enforcement officers to go find these quorum-breaking legislators and bring them back to the Capitol. We will not be able to conduct official business in the House until we get to at least 100 members."
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