Texas lawmakers to testify as U.S. House oversight committee plans hearing on Texas voting bill

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Texas House Democrats who near the authorities to artifact GOP-backed efforts to enact caller voting restrictions volition attest connected those proposals earlier a U.S. House subcommittee this week.

State Reps. Senfronia Thompson of Houston, Nicole Collier of Fort Worth and Diego Bernal of San Antonio are expected to marque appearances connected Thursday earlier the civilian rights and civilian liberties subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee connected Oversight and Reform successful a specially called proceeding connected contentious Texas authorities that would rewrite authorities predetermination laws. The proceeding volition travel successful the mediate of Texas Democrats’ 3rd week successful Washington, D.C., offering them a much ceremonial signifier connected which to marque their lawsuit against the authorities that prompted them to decamp to the U.S. capital.

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“America is facing the astir sweeping battle connected the voting rights of the radical since transition of the Voting Rights Act successful 1965,” U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, who chairs the subcommittee, said successful a statement. “Texas is present Ground Zero successful this battle, and we are honored to person these Texas lawmakers travel to attest earlier our subcommittee astir the conflict to support basal ideology successful their state.”

Republican authorities Rep. Travis Clardy of Nacogdoches volition besides attest astatine the hearing, serving arsenic the minority's witness.

The Texas Democrats person been successful Washington since July 12, erstwhile they slipped retired of the authorities truthful they could contradict Republicans the quorum needed to beforehand the legislation.

Since arriving, they person conceded they don’t person the votes to support the Republican bulk successful the Legislature from yet passing the legislation. Instead, they’ve attempted to framework their protestation arsenic a summons for Congress to enactment connected far-reaching national legislation. Their absorption is connected a brace of national bills that would reinstate national oversight of elections successful states similar Texas with troubling records and acceptable caller national standards for voting access, similar same-day and automatic elector registration.

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The Texas authorities successful question would prohibition section voting options meant to grow entree to voting, further restrict the state’s voting-by-mail rules, heighten entree for partisan canvass watchers and make caller rules — and imaginable penalties — for those who assistance voters formed their ballots.

During their clip successful a, the Texas Democrats person held meetings with astir each of the astir almighty Democrats successful Washington, prevention for President Joe Biden. But determination is inactive nary wide question to propulsion past the U.S. Senate’s filibuster regularisation and get the national voting authorities connected the level for a vote.

In his statement, Raskin said helium hoped the proceeding would assistance “galvanize attention” connected the request for the national voting legislation.

Still, the legislative theatrics person brought accrued nationalist attraction to the projected Texas authorities — and the imaginable implications for voters. Democrats person argued their audiences with members of Congress person besides fixed them an opening to bring distant the state’s caller violations that could physique a grounds for wherefore national involution is needed.

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“It is important for them to cognize the circumstantial stories that are happening successful Texas,” State Rep. Rafael Anchía said successful a caller property conference. The Dallas Democrat pointed to federal tribunal findings of intentional favoritism against voters of color astatine the hands of authorities lawmakers successful the past decennary and the state’s recent botched reappraisal of the elector rolls that jeopardized the voting rights of tens of thousands of naturalized citizens. “This is happening successful existent time, and it’s very, precise dangerous.”

Republicans person pushed the legislation, citing the request to heighten “election integrity” and trim the likelihood of fraud, though they deficiency the grounds that Texas elections are mired by voting irregularities connected a wide basis. In caller weeks, they’ve chided Democrats for abandoning their posts and not engaging successful statement implicit the bills backmost astatine home.

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Democrats person centered their absorption connected concerns astir the hazard the authorities runs successful disenfranchising voters, peculiarly voters of colour and those with disabilities, by raising caller barriers oregon pulling backmost connected voting initiatives similar drive-thru voting and overnight voting. They’ve been backed successful their absorption by disablement rights groups, voting rights advocates and civilian rights organizations with agelong histories of warring for Hispanic and Black Texans.

Also testifying connected Thursday volition beryllium Nina Perales, the vice president of litigation for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, who has raised concerns astir the GOP legislation’s imaginable effect connected voting entree for Latinos.

A smaller delegation of Democrats antecedently made their transportation successful Washington erstwhile the nationalist spotlight turned connected the Texas voting combat aft their archetypal walkout to derail transition of the authorities successful precocious May. Their 2nd quorum interruption — this clip past authorities boundaries and the jurisdiction of Texas instrumentality enforcement sent to circular them up — came conscionable days into a peculiar legislative league called to revive the voting measure and different GOP priorities.

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