Texas Democrats Consider Leaving State to Block Voting Bill: Report
- Texas Democratic lawmakers weighed the state’s departure on the GOP election bill, according to the NYT.
- In May, Democrats were able to temporarily suspend passage of the bill by denying Republicans a quorum.
- Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has made overhauling the elections a top priority this year.
- Sign up for the daily 10 Things in Politics newsletter.
Texas Democratic lawmakers have reportedly considered a move to leave the state to prevent the passage of a Republican-backed electoral overhaul, according to the New York Times.
People with knowledge of the situation told The Times there had been discussions about how Democrats might leave the state to protest the new voting restrictions, but it would only be a temporary maneuver.
Lawmakers supporting the exit from statehood argued that the action would “shed new light on voting rights in Texas” and pressure Democrats in the United States Senate to pass federal voting reforms, according to several Democratic lawmakers who spoke to The Times.
However, a contingent of Democrats oppose leaving the state, calling on members to stay on the State Capitol in Austin and fight with Republicans over the bill.
Texas House Democrats faced off on Friday with several options – leave Texas for a month, which would prevent Republicans from having a quorum; stay in the Lone Star State and seek amendments to weaken the bill; or allow a vote and make a decision on how to proceed while the bill is being chopped up by the State House and Senate.
Read more: 20 women political strategists wanted to see more and more women in US enter politics
Texas Democratic Senators on Friday tabled the Barbara Jordan Fair Elections Act, named after the venerable black lawmaker who served in the United States House from 1973 to 1979, which would expand access to the vote, allowing registration online and same-day voter registration and automatic voter registration, among other measures, according to The Dallas Morning News.
The actions come as Texas lawmakers enter a special session to pass the election overhaul that failed in May after House Democrats denied Republicans a quorum and temporarily halted passage of the bill.
In response to this decision, GOP Governor Greg Abbott effectively funded the Texas legislature.
However, Texas lawmakers decided to restore funding, according to The Texas Tribune.
The overhaul of the Republican election changes early voting times, limits the 24/7 voting centers that were popular with shiftworkers in last year’s presidential election, and removes straight-ticket voting, among other rules.
The legislation could be passed as early as Tuesday, according to the Times.
After former President Donald Trump was defeated to current President Joe Biden, Republican lawmakers across the country sought to enact a wide range of voting restrictions, under pressure from the former president and activists Conservatives to prioritize electoral integrity, despite the lack of verifiable evidence of mass fraud in the 2020 election.
Arizona, Florida and Georgia, the Sun Belt states that are competitive at the presidential level, have all passed controversial bills this year.
Last month, the Justice Department announced it was suing the state of Georgia over its new electoral law, SB 202, citing “racially discriminatory provisions”.
“The right to vote is one of the most fundamental rights of our democracy and protecting the right to vote for all Americans is at the heart of the mission of the Civil Rights Division,” said Kristen Clarke, Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division. âThe Department of Justice will use all the tools at its disposal to ensure that every eligible citizen can register, vote and that this ballot is counted without racial discrimination. Laws passed for racist purposes, like Georgia Senate Bill 202, simply have no place in democracy today. “