Democrats in the Texas Legislature staged a walkout in the final hours of their legislative session, stymieing the Republican majority from passing a wide-ranging election-changing bill, for now.
Their Sunday night protest in the Texas House of Representatives left the remaining members short of a quorum. Less than 24 hours earlier, the state Senate approved the changes in a vote before sunrise.
Grand Prairie state Rep. Chris Turner, the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, urged his caucus to “leave the chamber discreetly. Do not go to the gallery. Leave the building,” in text messages sent to others, according to the Texas Tribune.
Although this is a victory for Democrats, who consider the legislation to be an attempt to disenfranchise minority and Democratic voters, it may not last very long.
Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, called the successful tactic “disappointing and concerning” and indicated that approving the GOP-backed changes will be a priority during a special legislative session.
“I declared Election Integrity and Bail Reform to be must-pass emergency items for this legislative session,” he said in a statement. “It is deeply disappointing and concerning for Texans that neither will reach my desk. Ensuring the integrity of our elections and reforming a broken bail system remain emergencies in Texas. They will be added to the special session agenda.”
“Legislators will be expected to have worked out the details when they arrive at the Capitol for the special session,” the governor added.
Abbott did not specify when the special session would take place.
The bill, S.B. 7, would have changed various aspects of elections in Texas. If passed, the final version of the bill would limit early voting, add voting-by-mail restrictions, and limit local voting options such as drive-thru voting.
Proponents of the bill, mainly Republicans, argue that these changes are necessary to ensure the integrity of the election after claims of fraud were made in places across the country following the 2020 contest, although federal and state officials have said there is no evidence of such maleficence. Dozens of Republican-led states across the country are considering or have passed similar legislation.
Since the November election, former President Donald Trump has repeatedly disputed that President Joe Biden legitimately won the contest.
Author: Mike Brest, Breaking News Reporter
Source: Washington Examiner : Texas Democrats prevent GOP majority from passing election-altering bill with walkout