The Texas House floor sits mostly empty as most Texas representatives have fled to Washington D.C.(source)
Last month saw some really interesting voting dynamics for state senators in Washington D.C, but it seems voting antics are not limited to national politics. Even state legislatures are showing some really interesting dynamics.
Unlike their more national peers, Texas Democratic representatives have taken even more drastic measures than the Senators who decided not to vote on a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 insurgency last month- the former have taken the extra step of fleeing their districts and have traveled to Washington D.C. for the time being.
Earlier this week, more than 50 Texas Democrat representatives fled the Lone Star State and have sought refuge in Washington D.C. in order to avoid passage of a voting billed from fellow Texas Republican lawmakers that they believe will restrict voting rights. The Democrat representatives in Washington are now calling on Congress to step in and pass a comprehensive voting reform bill to continue to secure voting rights for people in their state and in the nation.
Earlier this summer, 14 states have passed nearly two dozen bills to make voting harder, from eliminating drop boxes to decreasing the number of hours polling places are open. Even more similar bills are being reviewed nationwide. In states like Texas where Democrats don’t have a majority, walkouts might be likely in other states depending on how their local and state governments are set up. Whatever the case might be, this might cause gridlock for any kind of legislation in the future. In order to avoid this, we need representatives who are not in the business of restricting voters rights but expanding democracy.
The best way to do this is comprehensive voting reform. One of those is making sure House Joint Resolution 23 is passed, which would lower the voting age to 16. Many 16 year-olds have not only paid taxes for years, but have also had to live and have contributed a hand in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic that has been affecting communities nationwide. Of course, getting H. R. 1, also known as the “For the People Act” passed is also important. Without these pieces of legislation, partisanship at the level we’ve seen will only continue, making democracy worse.
Passing H J Res 23 not only expands the democracy so that more voters who pay taxes and contribute to local and the national economy are heard, but it would prevent the same individuals like those who are now trying to limit voting rights from being in office again. Knowing who is trying to limit voting rights and people who support these types of legislation should not only be a wake up call to people across the U.S., but also a warning that as long as people like these continue to be in office, then at best, democracy will be in a constant state of gridlock AND, if not addressed promptly, could at worst result in the loss and diminished state of democracy through democratic means.