Democracies avoid state’s controversial voting bill in Texas
Democrat lawmakers hailed out of Gov. Greg Abbott’s special session Saturday (Aug. 7) causing the chamber to be short of quorum for the third time this year. Several hundred Texas Democrats had initially fled the state to make sure their Republican counterparts weren’t able to pass one of the country’s most controversial voting bills, SB 1. Since then, some of those Democratic legislators have met with the vice president in Washington, marched in support of voting rights, and put pressure on the Senate to pass the For The People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.
Texan House Speaker Dade Phelan, a Republican, delayed the chamber’s new session until Monday (Aug. 9), The Dallas News reports. House Democratic members are unlikely to return in sufficient numbers to vote on the bill.
Governor Abbott’s repeated attempts to force the return of asylum seekers were labeled a threat to democracy by the Texas Democrats. “It demonstrates his commitment to forcing policies that undermine our constitutional rights,” they said in their press release. Black, Brown and disabled Texans, elderly persons, and the disabled, as well as young people would be denied fair election processes, which would make it tough for them to vote in future elections.”
Another statement from Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa further reinforced those sentiments. Despite Abbott’s efforts to divide Texas, the Texas Democrats will stand up and fight back with everything they have. Texas legislators will not be required to break their oath to uphold Constitutional rights of our citizens, says the statement. “Voting rights are protected for all Americans, and we will speak out to protect them,” the statement reads. Abbott’s attacks and threats have been successfully countered twice by our legislators, and the fight to protect voting rights has been brought to national attention. Congress needs to take meaningful steps to protect voting rights – because Republican politicians do not appear to stop attacking it. The Texas Democratic party will work day after day until November 2022 in order to defeat Greg Abbott and give Texans the leadership they deserve.”
The current special session that Governor Abbott is holding runs through Sept. 6. Whether a bill is passed by the House, or any other for that matter, at least 100 members must be present in order to achieve quorum. On Saturday, 81 representatives attended.
The Republican Party appears to be hoping that its members will return soon. Earlier, Speaker Phelan said he anticipates the House voting on the bill next week and getting down to business quickly.
Plaintiffs are 22 Texas Democrats who filed a lawsuit against Phelan on Friday (Aug. 6). U.S. authorities have filed the lawsuit. Texas’ Western District of District Court names Abbott and state representative James White as defendants. They are seeking actual damages of $5 and punitive damages of $10. According to The Dallas News, GOP members say they have coerced, threatened, intimidated, deprived members and constituents from exercising their civic duty to “vote in all elections.”
The lawsuit was filed against Phelan by 22 Texas Democrats on Friday (Aug. 6). Authorities in the United States have filed the lawsuit. Attorney General Greg Abbott and state representative James White are defendants in Texas’ Western District of District Court. Plaintiffs are seeking $10 in punitive damages along with $5 in actual damages. GOP members claim they have coerced, threatened, intimidated, and deprived their constituents of exercising their civic duty to “vote in every election.” The Dallas News reports GOP members have been coerced, threatened, intimidated, and deprived of the right to vote.