The Supreme House of Representatives voted to approve a controversial voter ID law in Texas on Wednesday, clearing the way for a nationwide rollout of the law to begin.
Lawmakers approved the measure as part of a larger effort to prevent voter fraud by requiring voters to present photo IDs at the polls and by increasing the number of days a voter must show proof of citizenship in order to cast a ballot.
Greg Abbott, who has vowed to veto the measure, said in a statement that he has ordered his lawyers to “conduct a full investigation” and to find any evidence of voter fraud.
“Voter fraud is not something I can tolerate.
This bill will not help make Texans’ lives easier or help prevent fraud,” Abbott said.
Texas already requires voters to show photo ID at the polling place before voting, though the state has not gone further to increase the number and duration of those days required to cast their ballots.
The law has been challenged by Democratic attorneys general and courts, with one court finding that it violates the Voting Rights Act.
Critics say the law discriminates against minorities and people of color, and has led to a sharp drop in voter turnout.
Republican lawmakers have said they would fight any attempts to expand the law, but the measure could also be challenged by Democrats and others in the legal community.
Democrats have said that they will challenge the measure on the grounds that it is discriminatory against people of colour and that it disproportionately burdens minorities.