After a vote early Sunday morning on House Bill 3 and Senate Bill 1 in Texas, both of which are voter suppression bills backed by Republicans, Democrats are taking no chances on seeing the bills become law. Instead, they are leaving the state before those bills can be brought up for a vote on Monday evening, leaving both chambers of Congress without the quorum needed to vote on any bills.
— Jane C. Timm (@janestreet) July 12, 2021
The bills include language that would limit early voting, ban drive-through voting, and proactively distributing applications for mail-in ballots prior to an election. All of these are practices pointed to by former President Donald Trump, who insists on repeating the Big Lie about how the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him. The bills offer solutions to problems that don’t actually exist.
‘At least 58 Democratic members of the state House of Representatives are expected to bolt from Austin on Monday in an effort to block the measures from advancing, a source familiar with the plans told NBC News. The unusual move, akin to what Democrats did in 2003, would paralyze the chamber, stopping business until the lawmakers return to town or the session ends.
‘The majority of the members plan to fly to Washington, D.C., on two private jets chartered for the occasion and use the time there to rally support for federal voting legislation, the source said. Others will make their own way.’
Democrats in the Texas House plan to leave the state in order to again deny Republicans the quorum needed to pass voting restrictions https://t.co/QZAIc7Tvo1
— Mia Farrow (@MiaFarrow) July 12, 2021
Lawmakers in Texas have rarely used the practice of fleeing the state to avoid voting on a bill historically; the last was in 2003. However, the House and Senate Democrats are standing against restrictive voting laws, letting the GOP know they will risk arrest if they have to and that they will remain out of the state for three weeks in protest of these bills.
‘The lawmakers risk arrest in taking flight. Under the Texas Constitution, the Legislature requires a quorum of two-thirds of lawmakers be present to conduct state business in either chamber. Absent lawmakers can be legally compelled to return to the Capitol, and the source said Democrats expect state Republicans to ask the Department of Public Safety to track them down.’
Just In: Texas Democrats are set to flee Austin in a last-ditch attempt to halt expansive new voting restrictions by denying Republicans a quorum.
The legislators are planning to head to DC for the remainder of the session.
— Nick Corasaniti (@NYTnickc) July 12, 2021
Texas, which only received 197 complaints about voter fraud in 2020 out of 11.2 million votes, doesn’t need tougher laws around voter fraud and the bills will result in nothing other than preventing American voters, the ones most likely to vote Democrat, from voting. When a party’s entire reelection plan is voter suppression, it’s clear that party is in trouble.
‘Both bills would add new identification requirements for mail voting, ban some early voting options and create new criminal penalties for breaking election code while empowering partisan poll watchers.
‘To block the currently pending legislation, the Democratic lawmakers would have to remain away through the end of the special session, which can last as many as 30 days under the state’s constitution.’
At least 59 Texas House Democrats are fleeing the state of Texas to deny the Republican-controlled state legislature the quorum necessary to pass voting legislation during a special session. https://t.co/FtqBQloVR5
— Ron Coleman (@RonColeman) July 12, 2021