Texas Democrats Face Covid Epidemic and Struggle in Voting Rights


Due to the outbreak, meetings and conferences that would have taken place in person are now on screens. Plans for at least next week have been frozen.

“Everyone is jostling because the awareness is hitting that this new strain is among us and is very contagious even among people who have been vaccinated,” said Gina Hinojosa, an Austin state representative.

On Tuesday morning, the delegation met by video conference with Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, the third House Democrat. Mr Clyburn, Ms Hinojosa said, remains optimistic that the Senate can pass a federal voting rights overhaul before early August, when the current special session of the Texas Legislature will expire. (Mr Abbott has vowed to call a new one if Democrats don’t return by August 6, at the end of the session.)

Mr Clyburn encouraged Texans, they said, to push for a key measure in John Lewis’s voting rights bill – the Justice Department’s preclearance requirements, under which a certain many mainly southern states had to receive federal approval before changing the vote. laws – transferred to the more comprehensive law for the people, which was passed by the House and remains blocked in the Senate.

A representative for Mr. Clyburn did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Later on Tuesday, the Texas Democratic delegation, whose members now undergo daily virus tests, held a virtual press conference, reiterating the long history of battles for civil rights and voting rights and reaffirming their commitment to push Congress and the White House to pass federal legislation.

But the members were confined to pixelated Zoom boxes, and some of them simply had avatars appearing when they spoke, or black boxes with their names half obscured.

“We have a very strong program in terms of continuing outreach to members of Congress,” said State Representative Ron Reynolds, who represents the Houston area. “We are still working diligently through the Covid protocols that we have already put in place. “


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