Texas Democrats stage walkout to block passage of sweeping election overhaul package

Texas Democrats walked off the state House floor late Sunday night to prevent the passage of a massive overhaul of state elections procedures that would add new impediments to voting in future elections and limit the availability of certain types of voting predominantly used by low income and handicapped people.

The late-night drama came after hours of debate and procedural objections on Senate Bill 7, which had passed the state’s upper chamber early Sunday morning and looked to be headed to Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) desk for his signature.

The Texas Tribune reported that Democrats appeared to be slowly leaving the floor throughout the night before the remaining members of the party walked out around 10:30 p.m. That left the state House without enough members present for a quorum and Republicans unable to pass the bill before its midnight deadline.

“We decided to come together and say we weren’t going to take it,” state Rep. Jessica González (D) told the Washington Post after the walkout. “We needed to be part of the process. Cutting us out completely — I mean this law will affect every single voter in Texas.”

Abbott quickly vowed to add the elections bill to the agenda of a special session to address redistricting.

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