Texas Democrats are fighting against the laws they say will overwhelmingly cause voters to be disenfranchised in their state. House Bill 3 is being called “the worst voter suppression bill in the country,” and among its drastic measures would include a ban on drive-thru voting and any 24-hour or late-night voting option. Texas isn’t alone, as many states across the country are trying to pass similar laws.
According to The New York Times, 51 of the 67 State House Democrats left the state during a 30-day special legislative session, which was called on by Texas Governor Gregg Abott. The Texas legislature requires two-thirds of the majority to conduct business. Texas Republicans have the majority but not two-thirds, therefore, without the Democrats, the legislative session is suspended.
Abbott has threatened to arrest the Democrats once they return to the state.
The Texas Democrats flew to D.C. and will reportedly try to meet with the U.S. Senate to apply pressure to pass a national voting rights bill.
State Representative Trey Martinez Fischer, who organized the effort to leave the state, told The New York Times, “We have to decide if we are going to stand for democracy. We want the nation to join us and we want the U.S. Senate to hear us and act.”
The Texas laws, as proposed, will punish election officials who distribute any unsolicited vote-by-mail applications, ban curbside voting, limit drop boxes, and empower “poll watchers,” which some believe will result in voter intimidation.
Read the full bill, here.