State Watch

More than 100 state legislators joining Texas Democrats to push voting bills in DC

Texas House Democrats address reporters at the U.S. Capitol on July 13 after leaving the state to prevent a strong voting bill to be passed in the state house.
Greg Nash

More than 100 state legislators are slated to join Texas House Democrats in Washington, D.C., on Monday, as the lawmakers push for federal voting reform.

The lawmakers from nearly 30 states will participate in a “Week of Action” to demand President Biden and the Senate “do whatever it takes to immediately pass the For the People Act,” the sweeping voting right legislation championed by Democrats that was blocked by Senate Republicans.

The state lawmakers are calling for the Senate to stay in session until the For the People Act is passed.

“The freedom to vote is under unprecedented attack by extremist lawmakers in states across the country, including in Arizona,” Arizona state Rep. Jennifer Longdon (D) said in a statement.

“Every Democrat in the US Senate should feel urgency to pass legislation protecting the right to vote. We’re here to demand the Senate deliver the For the People Act, even if that means delaying recess. Recess can wait — but our democracy can’t,” she added.

The push for voting right legislation on Capitol Hill comes as a number of Republican-dominated state legislatures have passed restrictive elections bills in recent months.

The Brennan Center for Justice reported last month that between Jan. 1 and July 14, at least 18 states enacted 30 new laws that restrict access to voting.

The issue gained renewed attention in June when a group of Texas House Democrats fled to D.C. in an effort to deny state Republicans the quorum needed to convene a special session, where a broad measure to overhaul elections procedures was on tap.

The Texas Democrats are expected to remain in D.C. until Aug. 7, when the special session ends.

The House passed the For the People Act in March. Senate Republicans later blocked the legislation in a party-line vote.

The bill calls for requiring states to offer mail-in ballots and a minimum of 15 days of early voting, and it calls for online and same-day voter registration. It also aims to create an independent commission to draw congressional districts as a way to end partisan gerrymandering.

The bill would also establish additional resources to prevent foreign threats on elections and enable automatic voter registration. It also calls for making Election Day a federal holiday.

Tags For the People Act Joe Biden voting rights
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