“Legislators are expected to have the details worked out by the time they arrive for the special session at the Capitol,” Abbott said.
The Democrats left the Chamber at around 10:45 p.m., CT, allowing Republican Speaker Dade Phelan to prevent the House of Representatives from having the 100 members required for a quorum and adjourn the House for the night.
Republicans in Texas had sought to join Florida, Georgia, and other GOP-controlled states that have picked up former President Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 election and introduced new restrictions that will make it difficult for some of their residents to vote.
It is not yet clear when Abbott will convene the special session. It is also unclear whether Republicans will attend the special session to approve SB 7 as it is now being worked out, or whether they will make further changes.
A source tells CNN that Rep. Chris Turner, chairman of the House of Representatives Democratic House of Representatives, sent a text message to all of its members at 10:35 p.m. local time that read, “Take your key and leave the Chamber discreetly. Don’t go to the gallery. Get out of the building. “
The Democrats’ decision to leave the House of Commons and block passage of the bill came after hours of controversial debate – including Republicans who refused to take Democratic questions about the bill’s impact.
“We used all of the tools in our tool kit to fight this law, and tonight we brought the last one out,” said Rep. Nicole Collier, Chair of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus, during a midnight press conference at an East church Austin. “We will no longer stand and let them take measures that deprive our voters of the right to vote.”
Collier compared SB 7 to poll taxes and other laws that have historically made it harder for blacks and Latinos to vote.
“There is no widespread voter fraud. In order for them to mislead all of Texas into believing that there is a problem, we will call them to do it,” said Collier. “We may have won the war tonight, but the fight isn’t over yet.”
MP Trey Martinez Fischer criticized Abbott for failing to convene special sessions in the past over Hurricane Harvey, mass shootings in the state, or the coronavirus pandemic, and said the governor’s willingness to call one to impose new election restrictions, concern only his own political ambitions.
“We will not participate in our own downfall,” said Martinez Fischer. “You may have the votes on the floor, but we’re all equal in federal court.”
Immediately after the Democrats broke the House quorum on Sunday night, progressive groups celebrated the victory – even if it was temporary.
“One of the ugliest anti-voter laws in the country died today in the Texan legislature in 2021. Democratic lawmakers broke the quorum in a bold move that shows how hard Texans are willing to fight to protect their constitutional suffrage,” said Sarah Labowitz, director of politics and advocacy for the ACLU of Texas.
What was in the bill?
The move would have made postal voting more difficult by requiring voters to provide more information and prohibiting local electoral officials from sending postal votes to people who have not requested or from working with get-out-the-vote groups , encouraging Texans to vote by mail.
It would have banned the after-hour and drive-through options that voting attorneys said helped black and Latino voters in the Houston area cast their vote in the 2020 election.
It would have required the early voting time between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. the whole day of the week – which forbids Houston from offering a 24-hour early voting option again. And it would have blocked an early vote on Sundays before 1pm, effectively restricting “souls to the polls” after the church casts the vote popular with black churches.
SB 7 would also have made it easier to overturn an election by allowing courts to discard results when so many votes were cast illegally that it could have made a difference – rather than proving that cheating actually changed the outcome of a race Has.
The bill would also have fined US $ 1,000 a day on local election officials who fail to follow mandatory procedures for updating their electoral rolls, as well as criminal penalties on election workers who interfere with election observers. These partisan election observers have expanded their powers, allowing them “to be close enough to see and hear election activity”. However, the bill required election observers to take an oath promising not to harass or disrupt the electoral process or the electoral process.
President Joe Biden on Saturday afternoon condemned the Texas move, calling it “false and un-American” and saying it was “part of an attack on democracy that we have seen far too many times this year – and which often targets blacks and browns disproportionately American.”
This story has been updated with comments from the Texas House Democrats and House Republicans.
CNN’s Wesley Bruer and Jade Gordon contributed to this report.
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