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Texas Democrats Walk Out To Block Voting Restrictions; Governor Threatens No Pay

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says he intends to withhold paychecks to state lawmakers after House Democrats staged a walkout to block voting restrictions proposed by their Republican counterparts.

A large group of Democrats walked out of the House chamber in Austin late Sunday, so there was no quorum and that prevented a final vote on the proposal, Senate Bill 7. The bill, which had appeared poised for passage, would cut back polling hours, reduce access to mail-in voting and give more authority to partisan poll watchers.

Voting rights advocates say those and other provisions of the bill would make voting more difficult in Texas and would disproportionately burden people of color. There's been no evidence of significant voter fraud in Texas or elsewhere.

On Twitter, Abbott said he would veto Article 10 of the state budget, which funds the legislative branch.

"No pay for those who abandon their responsibilities," he said. He did not provide further details but added, "Stay tuned."

Abbott also has said he intends to order lawmakers back to Austin to complete work on the bill.

The fight in the Texas Legislature comes as Republican state lawmakers across the country work to pass legislation they say is designed to crack down on voter fraud, but which would have the effect of making voting more difficult in many communities. Lawmakers in several states have introduced similar legislation, motivated at least in part by former President Donald Trump's continued promotion of the "big lie" that the 2020 election was somehow stolen despite evidence to the contrary.

Those states include Georgia, where Democrats prevailed in the presidential contest for the first time in nearly 30 years, thanks in large part to grassroots organizers such as Stacey Abrams, who worked to turn out younger voters and people of color ahead of Election Day.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Sarah McCammon worked for Iowa Public Radio as Morning Edition Host from January 2010 until December 2013.
Sarah McCammon
Sarah McCammon is a National Correspondent covering the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast for NPR. Her work focuses on political, social and cultural divides in America, including abortion and reproductive rights, and the intersections of politics and religion. She's also a frequent guest host for NPR news magazines, podcasts and special coverage.