Democrat lawmakers on Sunday walked out of a legislative session in the Texas House into prevent a vote from moving forward on voting laws that would overturns many of the COVID-era voting measures.
These new rules were opposed by Democrats, who broke quorum by walking out, preventing the bill from passing by the midnight deadline. They believed that this bill would pose undue restrictions on Texas voters, according to the AP.
Some of those restrictions include the reversal of measures that allowed for 24-hour polling places, as well as drive-thru voting options. Republicans wanted to remove these measures, that were in place specifically to help people vote during the pandemic.
The walkout won't stop the legislature from passing new voting laws, as Governor Greg Abbott has already called a special legislative session with the sole purpose of enacting voting laws. Republicans want to pass these new laws to prevent fraud.
The walk-out was orchestrated by House Democratic chairman Chris Turner, who at 10:35 pm, Washington Post reported. Turner wrote "Members, take your key and leave the chamber discreetly. Do not go to the gallery. Leave the building."
Democrat state Rep. Jessica González was interviewed after the walkout, saying "We decided to come together and say we weren't going to take it. We needed to be part of the process. Cutting us out completely — I mean, this law will affect every single voter in Texas." Democrats complained that they had too little input on the crafting of the bill.
President Joe Biden slammed the bill, saying on Saturday "Today, Texas legislators put forth a bill that joins Georgia and Florida in advancing a state law that attacks the sacred right to vote. It's part of an assault on democracy that we've seen far too often this year — and often disproportionately targeting Black and Brown Americans."
SB7 would was described as "Relating to election integrity and security, including by preventing fraud in the conduct of elections in this state; increasing criminal penalties; creating criminal offenses."
Opponents of the bill say that the move to restrict early voting options that were put in place due to the pandemic, add restrictions to mail-in voting options, remove the option for polling places to be housed in temporary structures, and others changes, would be racially discriminatory.
This came after the Texas Senate had passed a voter roll maintenance bill that looks to purge non-citizens and non-residents from the state's voter rolls.
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