The Texas Senate passed a voter integrity bill while 51 Texas Democrat House members and eight Texas Democrat Senate members fled the state to subvert democracy by denying the Republican-led House the quorum needed to approve bills in Governor Greg Abbott’s special session agenda.
“Senators voted 18-4 along party lines to approve the legislation. Eight Senate Democrats announced that they too had fled to Washington, D.C., on Monday, with a ninth expected to arrive Monday evening,” National Review reported. “However, with 22 out of 31 members present, the Senate kept a quorum and was able to pass the measure.”
Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) said that the Democrats’ criticism of the voter integrity laws was “horrible” and “misleading” and was creating a “false national debate coming out of Washington.”
The report added:
The bill itself aims to mandate that voters write their driver’s license or other identification number on absentee ballots, bans state officials from sending out unsolicited mail-in ballots, and bans 24-hour and drive-in voting.
Initially, the bill limited early voting on Sundays before elections to begin at 1 p.m., a provision Democrats claimed was intended to curtail “souls to the polls” voting drives for black churchgoers. However, the provision was struck from the legislation last month.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott told Fox News on Monday that the Democrat lawmakers who fled the state would be arrested the moment that they step back into Texas.
“Isn’t that the most un-Texan thing you’ve ever heard? Texans running from a fight? They’re quitters,” Abbott told Fox News. “It’s like during a football game or baseball game, taking their equipment when they’re way behind and just leaving the field. That is not the way that Texas, Texans do things.”
“We have special sessions that last 30 days, and the governor calls them and I will continue calling special session after special session, because over time it’s going to continue until they step up to vote,” Abbott continued. “The thesis that they are operating under is completely false, because what the Texas law does, doesn’t hinder anybody’s ability to vote. And in fact, interestingly, what Texas is seeking to do is to add additional hours to vote. Texas has 12 days of early voting and the hours of which will be expanded. And we will ensure that hours are expanded on Election Day also. So their entire thesis is completely wrong. And compare early voting in Texas with early voting that we have in Delaware. Texas has 12 days of early voting. Delaware has zero days of early voting. Why am I picking on Delaware? Because that is where the President himself voted in the last election. And if anybody wants to talk about voter suppression, they should be talking about Delaware, not Texas.”
Abbott noted that the lawmakers were effectively “using a filibuster to flee the state of Texas to plead with the president to do away with the filibuster in Washington, D.C.,” which he noted was “hypocrisy on its face.”
“What the law is, it’s in the Constitution, and that is the house, the State House of Representatives who were here in the Capitol in Austin right now, they do have the ability to issue a call to have their fellow members who are not showing up to be arrested, but only so long as that arrest is made in the state of Texas,” Abbott said. “That’s why they have fled the state. Once they step back into the state of Texas, they will be arrested and brought to the Texas Capitol, and we will be conducting business.”