Texas Democrats plan to flee the state as part of an all-out effort to stop Republicans from passing new voting restrictions in the state.
The movement, first reported by NBC News, escalates one of the most important battles over efforts to make it difficult to vote in the United States.
There are days in a special legislative session in Texas in which Republicans are advancing measures that would impose new identification requirements on mailed ballots, ban 24-hour voting and car voting, and empower election observers. partisans at the polls.
Texas, a state that Trump comfortably won in 2020, is already one of the harder places to vote in the United States. It is one of the few states that does not have online voter registration or allow everyone to vote by mail, and only allows those who are 65 years old, have a disability or meet other criteria to do so. Texas was one of the states with lower participation in 2020.
This will be the second time Texas lawmakers have left the capitol to deny Republicans the two-thirds quorum needed to conduct business.
In late May, Democrats walked out of the regular session of the legislature, thwarting an earlier version of the voting bill. Republicans have gone ahead with a similar version of that bill in special session, though they removed two of its most egregious provisions: a measure that cuts early voting hours on Saturdays and another that would have made it easier for justices to revoke the bill. elections.
The Democratic decision to flee the state provided a jolt of energy to national Democrats, who have seen Republicans across the country use their majorities in state capitals to enact several new measures to impose voting restrictions.
Meanwhile, Democrats have failed in their efforts in Washington to pass comprehensive voting rights legislation. Several of the Democrats fleeing Texas plan to travel to Washington DC to advocate for federal voting restrictions, NBC News reported.
Without a quorum, Republicans in the state legislature will not be able to move forward with any business in the special session, which can last a maximum of 30 days. Democrats fleeing the state face possible arrest, according to NBC News, as state Republicans can authorize law enforcement to bring Democratic lawmakers back to the state. Republicans did just that in 2003, when Democratic lawmakers fled the state in an effort to block new electoral maps that would favor Republicans.
As recently as last week, there was no general consensus among Democrats on the possibility of fleeing the state, the New York Times reported.
Some Democrats, realizing they can’t stop Republicans from passing new restrictions forever, favored staying and fighting the legislation on procedural grounds and proposing amendments to win key concessions. the times saying. Some were concerned that by fleeing the state it would appear that Democrats were abandoning their legislative responsibilities. Those in favor of the escape argued that it would bring a new focus of attention to the fight for voting rights in Texas. 58 of the 67 members of the Democratic caucus are expected to flee the state, NBC reported.
Republicans began promoting the new voting bill on Saturday at a committee hearing that lasted into the early hours of the morning. Hundreds of people signed up to testify against the measure and waited hours to do so.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism