Texas Democrats Block Harsh Voting Bill By Walking Out En Masse

Written by on May 31, 2021

Democratic lawmakers in Texas abruptly blocked a restrictive voting invoice in a dramatic transfer on Sunday night time, strolling out of the chamber en masse earlier than a midnight deadline to ship the laws to the state’s governor.

The dramatic transfer was at the very least a short-term victory over the GOP-backed Senate Invoice 7, which Democrats and voting rights advocates have in comparison with Jim Crow legal guidelines that largely barred Black People from voting within the 20th century. The measure would come with new restrictions on absentee voting, empower ballot watchers from political events and ban drive-through voting and 24-hour polling websites, which have been each efficiently used throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, amongst different provisions.

The invoice would additionally make it simpler to overturn an election.

Gov. Greg Abbott (R) mentioned that, regardless of the blocking transfer, the invoice remained a “must-pass emergency” merchandise in his thoughts and that it will be added to a particular session agenda alongside a bail reform invoice later this yr.

“It’s deeply disappointing and regarding for Texans that neither will attain my desk,” Abbott mentioned in a press release early Monday. “Guaranteeing the integrity of our elections and reforming a damaged bail system stay emergencies in Texas.” 

He didn’t give a date for the session, however The New York Instances notes it might begin as early as June 1.

The invoice, if it finally passes, is ready to turn into one of many nation’s most restrictive voting legal guidelines and is part of Republicans’ ongoing effort to rewrite the nation’s legal guidelines following former President Donald Trump’s loss within the 2020 election. Trump and his allies have continued to unfold baseless claims of voter fraud of their try and make it a lot more durable to vote, unveiling legal guidelines that might largely penalize low-income People and communities of coloration.

The Democratic walkout was organized by State Rep. Chris Turner (D), who wrote to his caucus members to discreetly go away the chamber round 10:35 p.m. native time.

“Don’t go to the gallery,” Turner wrote, “go away the constructing.” 

The mass exodus brought on the chamber to be 14 votes wanting the 100-member quorum required to proceed.

“It turned apparent Republicans have been going to chop off debate to ram by means of their vote suppression laws,” Turner advised the Instances shortly after midnight. “At that time, we had no alternative however to take extraordinary measures to guard our constituents and their proper to vote.”

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