A group of Democratic legislators from the Texas Lower House fled to Washington D.C. in an attempt to block the approval of a bill that seeks to establish greater controls to ensure the integrity of elections in the state.
The legislation was set to receive the approval of the Republican-majority state House in a few days and end up on Governor Greg Abbott’s desk to be signed.
Anticipating the situation, a large group of Democratic legislators decided to leave Texas to prevent the necessary quorum for the initiative to be debated on the floor.
The Democratic leadership of the Texas House has not detailed exactly how many of the 67 progressive legislators have left, but they claim there are enough to block the vote.
“Today, Texas House Democrats stood united in our decision to break quorum,” Texas House Democratic leaders said in a joint statement.
The lawmakers left the Austin (Texas) airport on two private planes Monday afternoon and are scheduled to arrive in Washington D.C. later this evening, according to local media.
This is not the first time they have fled the state to break quorum
In 2003, Texas Democrats also fled their state to prevent a quorum. Then, the Texas cavalry was tasked with driving the legislators back into the state.
This is the second time this year that Texas Democrats have rebelled against Republicans, who control both houses of the state legislature, to boycott a vote on legislation aimed at ensuring electoral integrity.
In late May, after a tense debate in the state House, Democrats decided to slowly leave the floor to prevent a quorum.
Republicans have proposed two bills, known as “HB3” and “SB1”. If passed, these bills would prohibit voting from a vehicle, place limitations on voting by mail, as well as punish those who commit election crimes.