Texas Gov. Greg Abbott harshly criticized Democrat lawmakers who fled to Washington, D.C., on Monday in an attempt to deprive the state legislature of the two-thirds quorum needed to vote on the GOP's sweeping elections overhaul bills, telling Fox’s "The Ingraham Angle" that they will be arrested upon their return.
The Republican governor said members of the Texas House of Representatives who are still in the state can call for the arrests of their colleagues who do not show up to vote, as long as the arrests are made in Texas.
Abbot insisted that "once they step back into the state they will be arrested and brought back to the Capitol and we will be conducting business."
Over the weekend, Republicans in the state legislature worked to advance two voting bills, which the GPO insists are needed to provide greater election security, Newsweek reported.
Democrats say that the legislation, which would add new ID requirements for mail-in ballots and prohibit 24-hour polling locations, drive-thru voting, and ballot drop boxes, would make it more difficult for citizens to vote, especially minorities, young people, and those with disabilities.
Twenty-four hour polling locations, drive-thru voting, and ballot drop boxes were used in last year’s election in Texas, according to The Washington Post, to make it easier for state residents to safely vote during the coronavirus pandemic.
Texas Democrats also took part in a walkout in May and successfully prevented an earlier version of the voting legislation from passing, Newsweek reported.
The Texas Democratic Party issued a statement saying that "In response to Republicans' escalation of their attacks on voters, Democrats continue to hold the line."
Democrats explained that after they "historically blocked Republicans' anti-voter efforts in the spring legislative session, Abbott called an irregular extra legislative session in order to resurrect the anti-voter legislation - Republicans' main hope of holding onto power in the 2022 election."
But Abbot insisted that such tactics will not work, telling Fox that "We have special sessions that last 30 days. And the governor calls them, and I will continue calling special session after special session because over time it is going to continue until they step up to vote."
The Democrat lawmakers, however, vowed that would not be swayed. State Rep. Chris Turner said that Democrats "are determined to kill this bill," stressing that he and his colleagues were prepared to run out the clock on a special session that ends early next month.
Sources told The New York Times that Texas Democrats hope their methods will help bring a spotlight to the issue of voting rights and increase the pressure on Democrats in the U.S. Senate to pass reforms on voting rights that would cancel out the attempts by Texas and other GOP-led state legislatures to enact their changes.
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