Controversial Texas voting bill set to become law

After a showdown that lasted most of the summer, a controversial voting bill is just a couple of steps away from Gov. Greg Abbott's desk.

Democrats fought hard to keep the bill from passing, starting with a walkout and then an exodus from the state.

Republicans and Democrats in Texas are steadfast in their opinions about what the voting bill would do to our election system. 

One SMU political analyst says in reality the bill won't drastically change anything. 

The months-long partisan fight over voting rules in Texas is now coming to a conclusion. 

After the House and Senate passed their versions of Senate Bill 1, a compromise was made in a conference committee Monday. 

"This bill is going to make a lot less difference than people on either side say," said SMU Political Professor Matthew Wilson. "That is, Republicans presented as if this were a major reform that was going to significantly curtail electoral fraud. Democrats presented it as if this was a huge infringement on voting rights and a return to Jim Crow. Neither of those is true."

Texas House Republicans push ahead on voting bill with Democrats returning from D.C.

The bill mostly takes aim at Harris County and the moves it made during the 2020 election. The county opened up drive-thru voting centers and 24-hour voting sites. The bill now bans both those practices.

Vote by mail requests will require a driver’s license or social security number.

The bill gives more power to partisan poll watchers, giving them "free movement" in polling places. 

Democrats’ concern is that some of those poll watchers might get too actively involved, too aggressive and potentially intimidate some voters," Wilson said. "We don't know how that's going to play out."  

Democrats stalled the bill from passing in the regular session with a last-minute walkout.

MORE: Quorum break ends as small number of Democrats return to Texas House after 38 days

During the first special session, enough Democrats fled the state to deny a quorum in the House. But about halfway through the current session, enough came back to bring the bill to the floor.

After a summerlong showdown, in the end, Republicans still got what they wanted. 

Democrats have been accused by the GOP of "abandoning" their jobs.

"I think at the end of the day when we get to 2022, memories of Democrats, actions here are going to largely have faded," Wilson said. "And I think something else will be front and center in voters’ minds in determining those elections."

The earliest the House and Senate can give the final green light to SB1 is Tuesday.