Poor People’s Campaign march to prevent Texas voting restrictions

<span>Photograph: Gaelen Morse/Reuters</span>
Photograph: Gaelen Morse/Reuters

A group of civil rights activists from the Poor People’s Campaign started their four-day march through Texas on Wednesday morning, seeking to prevent a Republican plan to restrict voting rights in the state.

GOP politicians in Texas are seeking to pass legislation which would make it harder to vote, in a state that saw its highest turnout in decades in 2020 – and little evidence of voter fraud. Texas Democrats abruptly left the state in mid-July in an effort to block the proposed laws. What is happening in Texas is one of the most egregious examples of widespread attack on voting rights in the US following the election in November.

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Marchers set off from the Christ Lutheran church in Georgetown, Texas, at 7am, aiming to reach the state capitol in Austin for a voting laws rally on Saturday. About 100 people were singing, clapping and chanting: “Which side are you on, my people?” “I’m on the people’s side.”

Outside the main group, one man carried a Trump 2020 flag and walked around the parking lot area; unlike the more liberal Austin, Georgetown is moderate to conservative.

Texas Democrats have urged Congress to pass the For the People Act, which includes several provisions that would expand voter access, as well as an updated version of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act.

The Rev Dr William Barber, co-chair of the Poor People’s campaign, was among those leading the marchers. He urged Congress to act. “The day that the For the People Act is passes is the day everything that the Texas legislature is doing becomes illegal,” Barber told KHOU 11.

Other marchers included Nakyla Garrison, from Georgetown, who was pushing her one-year-old daughter in a stroller. “She won’t remember anything but she will at least see pictures and she’ll know that you have to fight,” Garrison said.

“The voter suppression that’s going on is just unbelievable. It’s quite shocking in this day and age to see this happen,” she added as the march got under way.

“It’s really sad that we have to, but here we are, we have to. People have worked too hard since decades and decades ago here, so we can’t let it slip away.”