Vice President Kamala Harris said Democratic lawmakers who fled Texas in an effort to block the state’s new election legislation from passing are “in line” with the legacy of civil rights and voting rights leaders and activists, while praising them for their “bold, courageous action.”
Harris was commenting on the Texas House Democratic Caucus, which left the state Monday to withhold a quorum from a special legislative session dedicated to passing a new election security bill.
“They took bold, courageous action in line with the legacy of Frederick Douglass, to the legacy that involves women who marched down Pennsylvania Avenue, and all those folks who shed blood on the bridge in 1965 to pass the Voting Rights Act,” Harris said Wednesday.
“And now, we have in 2021, the Texas Legislature,” she continued. “Many of them traveled to Washington, D.C., at great sacrifice to stand up for the American right to vote, unencumbered.”
Eight Texas state Senate Democrats joined Texas House lawmakers in fleeing the state for Washington.
Despite their efforts to block the legislation, Texas state senators passed the Republican-led voting reform bill Tuesday evening in a party-line vote.
Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during a roundtable with disabilities advocates on voting rights in the Vice President’s Ceremonial Office at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex, Wednesday, July 14, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Democrats have claimed the laws proposed by GOP senators are suppressive attempts to block voter turnout, Republicans maintain the laws would secure the elective process.
Under the bill, a ban would be implemented on drive-thru voting, video surveillance would become a requirement, and tracking devices would be installed on all electronic devices used to count ballots to follow “input and activity.”
Changes would be made to the state’s poll-watching system, and mail-in voting would receive renewed scrutiny – requiring all voters to include a driver’s license number or the last four digits of a Social Security number on their ballot.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has threatened to arrest the state lawmakers who fled to Washington in an attempt to short-circuit the House vote until Congress passes voting reform that would expand voting rights federally.
Meanwhile, President Biden has called on Congress to pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to counter what Democrats argue is an attack against minority voters.
Texas is not the only GOP-led state to push for voting reforms.
A trend among red states emerged following the 2020 general election, during which some Republicans suggested the rise in mail-in voting left room for fraud.
Seventeen states have introduced 28 new laws on voting regulation.
Fox News’ Caitlin McFall contributed to this report.