Members of the Texas House Democratic Caucus take part in a voting rights rally outside of the Texas State Capitol on the first day of the 87th Legislature's special session on July 8, 2021 in Austin, TexasDemocrats in the Texas legislature have left their state en masse in an effort to prevent Republicans there from passing a law to tighten voting rules.

The move will temporarily paralyse the state’s House of Representatives, which requires at least two-thirds of lawmakers be present for a vote. At least 50 House Democrats boarded two private jets from Austin to Washington DC on Monday. The move comes amid a wave of voting restrictions in Republican-led states. An important first vote on the sweeping voting legislation proposed by Texas Republicans was planned for later this week.

The bill would outlaw 24-hour polling places and drive-through voting, ban ballot drop boxes and expand the authority of partisan poll watchers. The House lawmakers took off on Monday afternoon – the first time since 2003 that state Democrats have left Texas to break quorum.

Speaking to reporters as they landed in Washington DC, the Texas Democrats said they would not return until the 30-day special session had ended next month.

Read more…