Texas Democrats plan weeklong virtual voting rights conference in DC

Texas Democrats plan weeklong virtual voting rights conference in DC
·3 min read

Texas Democrats who fled to Washington, D.C., to stonewall a voting bill moving through the state Legislature will host a virtual conference on voting rights from the nation's capital, state lawmakers confirmed.

The planned weeklong conference, hosted by Service Employees International Union Texas and Mi Familia Vota, will feature appearances from four secretaries of state throughout the United States and state lawmakers from other states where Republicans are advancing similar election bills, according to an article by NBC News that was retweeted by the Texas House Democratic Caucus.

"Texas Democrats are hard at work speaking with experts from around the country about our fight to protect voting rights. 18 states nationwide have already passed bills to restrict the freedom to vote. We need federal action now!" said state Rep. Jessica Gonzalez.

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State Rep. Carl Sherman confirmed one of the events scheduled for Monday, inviting supporters to tune in to "State of Emergency: The Fight for Voting Rights Town Hall," which will be "an informative discussion about HB 3, the quorum break, and the need for Congress to take action on the For The People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act."

"I can't wait to see you there!" he added.

Representatives for the THDC did not immediately respond to the Washington Examiner's request for comment.

On Monday, at least 51 state lawmakers headed to Washington to stonewall the passage of the state's Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 3, a pair of bills that would ban drive-thru voting, implement more comprehensive voter ID requirements for mail-in ballots, and prohibit officials from sending voting applications to those who did not request them. They also lobbied Congress in support of the For the People Act, a sweeping election overhaul supported by congressional Democrats, as well as the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

On Saturday, it was reported that three of the Democratic lawmakers, who fled Texas last week and were photographed smiling without masks as they flew on chartered flights en route to Washington, contracted COVID-19, despite all three being fully vaccinated against the disease.

THDC Chairman Chris Turner said the caucus is "following all [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidance and protocols."

Symone Sanders, a representative for Vice President Kamala Harris, confirmed that the vice president met with two of the members but said she was deemed not to be at high risk of contracting the disease.

Sunday morning, Harris checked into the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for what the White House said was a "routine doctor's appointment," according to multiple outlets.

Under the Texas Constitution, two-thirds of lawmakers must be present to conduct business, and those who evade the task may be legally required to return.

Republicans in the Lone Star State have vowed to hold Democrats accountable for fleeing the state. Gov. Greg Abbott, who called a special session expiring on Aug. 7 to pass the voting legislation, said that the lawmakers "will be arrested and brought to the Texas Capitol" upon their return to Texas, a stance affirmed by Republicans in the Texas House, who voted on Tuesday to send law enforcement to hunt down the nearly 60 Democratic legislators who fled the state.

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Democrats have praised the lawmakers' efforts to starve Republicans of the quorum needed to vote on the bills, with President Joe Biden applauding the group's "courage."

The tactic of fleeing a state to deny congressional bodies of quorums has been employed by state lawmakers in Texas, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Oregon. Few of these walkouts achieved the desired results.

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Tags: News, Texas, Texas House, Voting rights, Voting

Original Author: Carly Roman

Original Location: Texas Democrats plan weeklong virtual voting rights conference in DC

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