Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences Dedman College Research Political Science

Political scientist Matthew Wilson in the Atlanta Journal Constitution

Atlanta Journal Constitution

Originally Posted: July 12, 2021

After Texas Republicans advanced a series of new voting laws Sunday, Lone Star Democrats reportedly are planning to flee the state — once again — in an effort to stop those measures from taking effect.

Republicans are planning the first of several votes on the proposed measures this week, according to The Associated Press. At least 58 state House Democrats are expected to bolt from Austin on Monday in an effort to block the measures from advancing, NBC News reported.

Most members plan to fly to Washington, D.C., on two private jets and use the time there to rally support for federal voting legislation, according to an unidentified source quoted by the network.

The last time Texas Democrats left the state to deny a quorum was 2003, when they decamped to Oklahoma and New Mexico to try to block new GOP-drawn voting maps. They were gone more than a month, but ultimately, Republicans passed a new redistricting plan.

Both parties are playing a game of chicken, according to Dr. Matthew Wilson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University. “Democrats are trying to deny a quorum so the Legislature can take no action on some of the high-priority items of the session, and election reform was the top priority of this special session.”

Texas is among several states with GOP-controlled statehouses where Republicans have enacted new voting laws in response to former President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated claims the 2020 election was stolen from him. READ MORE