In a second protest against Republican-backed restrictive voting legislation, Texas House Democrats left the state to prevent the House of Representatives from reaching a quorum.
More than 50 Democrats flew to Washington, D.C. this week, demonstrating their opposition to an election overhaul bill that would limit voting access for people of color, young people, and those with disabilities, according to the Associated Press. The measure includes provisions to add new vote by mail identification requirements, ban 24-hour and drive-through voting, increase the presence of partisan poll watchers, intensify criminal penalties for election workers in breach of regulations, and limit third-party ballot collection.
“Today, Texas House Democrats stand united in our decision to break quorum and refuse to let the Republican-led legislature force through dangerous legislation that would trample on Texans’ freedom to vote,” a joint statement from top Texas House Democrats stated, according to ABC News. “We are now taking the fight to our nation’s Capitol. We are living on borrowed time in Texas.”
Representatives Chris Turner, Rafael Anchía, Nicole Collier, Garnet Coleman, and Dean Senfronia Thompson are among the Texas House Democratic Caucus members who absconded to Washington.
Democrats say Congress must now enact the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to help not only Texans, but all Americans. They maintain that passage of the legislation is necessary to fight the GOP’s “war on democracy.”
However, Republican Governor Greg Abbott said he plans to call as many special sessions this year as required to force the passage of the bill, and has not ruled out the possibility of arresting Democrats when they return. Further, the Texas House passed a motion that effectively directs state troopers to arrest absent members inside of state boundaries.