Texas Dems who fled to block voting law sue Gov. Abbott

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Texas Dems who fled to block voting law sue Gov. Abbott

Nearly two dozen Democratic lawmakers sued Gov. Greg Abbott and other state GOP leaders – claiming efforts to bring them back to Austin for a special session violated their rights.

The 22 members of the Texas House, who’d skipped town to avoid a vote on a controversial election reform bill, claim the Saturday special session infringed on their constitutional rights to free speech.

Abbott called for the arrest of more than 50 Democrats that flew to Washington, DC, to block the passage of a bill that they said would restrict access to the polls, according to The Texas Tribune.

Without the lawmakers present, the House lacked a quorum and couldn’t approve any measures.

The lawsuit alleged “retaliatory attacks, threats and attempts at coercion relating to the exercise of their First Amendment rights” as well as racial discrimination against some of the lawmakers, but no specific evidence was presented, according to the outlet.

The plaintiffs were “deprived of liberty for substantial periods of time, suffered much anxiety and distress over separation from their families, and much discomfort and embarrassment,” the lawsuit reportedly alleged.

The attorney for the litigating Democrats is an ex-lawmaker practicing law under a probationally suspended license, the article said.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott
Gov. Greg Abbott has threatened to arrest the Democratic lawmakers to resume the Texas legislature.
AP Photo/Eric Gay, File

At least two lawmakers named as plaintiffs made public statements claiming they were wrongly included in the lawsuit, according to the report.

“I did not request, review or authorize the filing,” Rep. Shawn Thierry reportedly said.

The voting bill the lawmakers are trying to block reportedly bans drive-through voting, adds new ID requirements for mail-in ballots, and makes it a crime for local officials to send ballot applications to voters who haven’t requested them.

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