Austin, Texas (CNN)Texas Republicans’ push to enact a slew of new voting restrictions was stymied — at least for now — by Democrats who walked off the state House floor late Sunday night, leaving majority Republicans without the quorum they needed to approve the bill in the final hours before a midnight deadline.
Their move effectively killed Senate Bill 7 for this year’s legislative session. But it could soon be revived: Republican Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted Sunday night that he is adding “election integrity” to a list of topics lawmakers will address in a special session he plans to call.
“Legislators will be expected to have worked out the details when they arrive at the Capitol for the special session,” Abbott said.
Democrats left the chamber at about 10:45 p.m., CT, leaving Republican Speaker Dade Phelan to concede that the House did not have the 100 members necessary for a quorum and to adjourn the House for the night.
Republicans in Texas had sought to join Florida, Georgia and other GOP-controlled states that have seized on former President Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 election and adopted new restrictions that will make it harder for some of their residents to vote.
It’s not yet clear when Abbott will call the special session. It’s also not clear whether Republicans will enter the special session set on approving SB 7 as it’s currently drafted or will seek to make further changes.
A source tells CNN that Rep. Chris Turner, the House Democratic Caucus chair, 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 discretely. Do not go to the gallery. Leave the building.”
Democrats’ decision to leave the House floor and block the bill’s passage came after hours of contentious debate — including Republicans refusing to take questions from Democrats about what the bill would do.
“We used all the tools in our toolbox to fight this bill, and tonight we pulled out that last one,” said Rep. Nicole Collier, who chairs the Texas Legislative Black Caucus, during a midnight news conference at a church in East Austin. “We are no longer going to stand and let them continue to push measures that disenfranchise our voters.”
Collier compared SB 7 to poll taxes and other laws that have historically made it more difficult for Black and Latino people to vote.
“There’s no widespread voter fraud. And so for them to mislea
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