Vice President Kamala Harris is set to meet with Texas Democrats who walked out of the state’s House chamber in order to deny Republicans the quorum needed to pass their voting restrictions bill.
The meeting will occur on Wednesday, according to a statement from spokesperson Symone Sanders.
The Democrats staged a dramatic walkout just before midnight on May 31, effectively killing the bill in regular session. The legislative body needs a 100-member quorum for proceedings. Gov. Greg Abbott, who supports the bill, said he will call for a special session to bring it back.
“Election Integrity & Bail Reform were emergency items for this legislative session,” Abbott tweeted. “They STILL must pass. They will be added to the special session agenda. Legislators will be expected to have worked out the details when they arrive at the Capitol for the session.”
The Senate had passed the bill the day before. The legislation had drawn the attention of President Biden, who called it “wrong and un-American.”
“It’s part of an assault on democracy that we’ve seen far too often this year—and often disproportionately targeting Black and Brown Americans,” Biden said in a statement
TEXAS HOUSE DEMOCRATS BLOCK VOTING BILL IN DRAMATIC WALKOUT
The bill’s author, state Rep. Briscoe Cain, R-Deer Park, said the legislation would help to protect voters and prevent future election crimes. He said it wasn’t written in response to the 2020 elections, which he deemed were fair.
The bill would newly empower partisan poll watchers by allowing them more access inside polling places and by threatening criminal penalties against elections officials who restrict their movement.
Another new provision could also make it easier to overturn an election in Texas, allowing for a judge to void an outcome if the number of fraudulent votes cast could change the result, regardless of whether it was proved that fraud affected the outcome.
Election officials would also face new criminal penalties, including felony charges for sending mail voting applications to people who did not request one.
BIDEN CALLS TEXAS VOTING BILL ‘WRONG AND UN-AMERICAN’
The measure would also eliminate drive-thru voting and 24-hour polling centers, both of which Harris County, the state’s largest Democratic stronghold, introduced last year.
It also would have cut back early voting hours to begin at 1 p.m., instead of 9 a.m. Black churches typically use Sunday mornings for ‘Souls to the Polls’ events.
Pressed on the Senate floor over why Sunday voting couldn’t begin sooner, Republican Sen. Bryan Hughes said, “Election workers want to go to church, too.”
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But state Rep. Travis Clardy, a Republican on the Elections Committee, said that change was a typo. “That was not intended to be reduced. I think there was a – you know, call it a mistake if you want to. What should have been 11 was actually printed up as one.”