It may be largely symbolic in the end, but Democrats in the Texas House have delayed passage of a restrictive voting bill pushed by Republicans. The Texas Tribune writes:
Senate Bill 7, a Republican priority bill, is an expansive piece of legislation that would alter nearly the entire voting process. It would create new limitations to early voting hours, ratchet up voting-by-mail restrictions and curb local voting options like drive-thru voting.
Democrats had argued the bill would make it harder for people of color to vote in Texas. Republicans called the bill an “election integrity” measure — necessary to safeguard Texas elections from fraudulent votes, even though there is virtually no evidence of widespread fraud.
So on Sunday, the last day of the legislative session, Democrats began filing out of the Texas House. The Texas Senate has already passed the bill. When it came time to vote, not enough members were on the floor for a quorum.
Democrats gathered at a nearby church, the Tribune notes, which was a nod to the late add of restricting voting hours on Sunday.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott tweeted Sunday night that he would call the legislature back into a special session to attempt to pass the bill. The Washington Post notes:
But it was an unmistakable defeat for the governor and fellow Republicans, who had crafted one of the most far-reaching voting bills in the country — pushing restrictions championed by former president Donald Trump, who has falsely claimed that his defeat in the 2020 election was tainted by fraud.
The exodus from the floor came after Chris Turner, the House Democratic chairman, sent instructions to colleagues at 10:35 p.m. Central time instructing them to exit the House, according to an image shared with The Washington Post.
“Members, take your key and leave the chamber discreetly,” Turner wrote, referring to the key that locks the voting mechanism on their desks. “Do not go to the gallery. Leave the building.”
Read more from The Dallas News: Texas Democrats walk out of House chamber to stop debate on sweeping GOP-backed elections bill