Democrats in Texas House flying to Washington in bid to shut down voter-restriction bill

With a national spotlight shining on the Texas GOP's second try at ramming through legislation that would make it harder to vote in the state, Democrats in the Texas House plan to leave Austin, denying a quorum, the Texas Tribune reports.

House Democrats will fly to Washington, D.C., on Monday afternoon, sources familiar with the plan told the Tribune. Gov. Greg Abbott called the current special session of the Texas Legislature in a bid to resurrect a controversial voting-restriction bill that died during the regular session when Dems staged a last-minute walkout.

The new walkout comes with 27 days left in the special session, and most of the lawmakers are expected to fly to D.C. without setting a return date, according to the Tribune report.

To deny a quorum on the controversial bill, at least 51 of the 67 Democrats in the House need to stay away from the Capitol for the remainder of the session, according to the story.

Democrats are hoping a repeat of their walkout will force Republicans to the negotiating table. Voting-rights advocates argue that Republicans have shut critical voices out of the process as they seek to wrest control over elections from county officials.

“This is a historical day for Texas," Val Benavidez, executive director of the progressive Texas Freedom Network said in an emailed statement. "Advocates, voters, and friendly legislators have spoken out for months against the voter suppression efforts of the Republican Party, and this second walkout is an example of how much we will all fight to protect our democratic right to vote."

Stay tuned.

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Sanford Nowlin

Sanford Nowlin is editor-in-chief of the San Antonio Current.

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