By: Teddy Grant
Texas Democrats left the state on Monday and headed to Washington, D.C., to prevent Republicans from passing a restrictive voting bill.
Fifty-one of the state’s House Democrats left Texas on a pair of chartered flights, according to the New York Times. Republicans needed enough Democrats in the state for state business to conclude; the Democrats’ efforts prevent the Texas GOP from forming a quorum during a special session called by Gov. Greg Abbott.
“We are coming to D.C. to put pressure on them to act because this isn’t just Texas,” Texas Democratic State Rep. John Bucy III told CNN. “All over the South and in Republican states, we are seeing voter suppression bills. We need Congress to pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.”
This is the second time in six weeks that Texas Democrats took extreme action to prevent the voter legislation, Senate Bill 7, from being passed. The bill would make it more difficult for people to vote by mail, ban drive-thru voting, limit the use of voting drop boxes and make it a felony for campaign workers to take absentee ballots and deliver them to election officials.
The GOP-backed bill stems from former President Donald Trump’s lies that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.
“Ultimately, if we can get federal protections even if they pass along this terrible law, we believe that what will happen is what historically happens in the state of Texas: We will be told that the law is intentionally discriminatory and therefore portions of the law would actually be struck down,” Texas Democratic State House Representative Jasmine Crockett told BNC’s Charles Blow.
According to the Times, Vice President Kamala Harris praised the Democrats who staged the walkout, saying, “I applaud them standing for the rights of all Americans and all Texans to express their voice through their vote unencumbered.”
In Philadelphia on Tuesday, President Joe Biden delivered a fiery speech condemning Republican efforts to make it harder for people to vote from around the country.
“In America, if you lose, you accept the results,” Biden said. “You follow the Constitution; you try again. You don’t call facts ‘ fake’ and then try to bring down the American experiment just because you’re unhappy. That’s not statesmanship. That’s selfishness.”