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Despite Breakthrough COVID-19 Cases, Texas Democrats In D.C. Keep Pushing For Federal Voting Laws

Activists and Democratic lawmakers rally outside the state Capitol against proposed changes to Texas election laws at the start of the 2021 special legislative session.
Activists and Democratic lawmakers rally outside the state Capitol against proposed changes to Texas election laws at the start of the 2021 special legislative session.

Texas Democrats in Washington, D.C., say their efforts to push for federal voting protections haven’t slowed after a few members tested positive for COVID-19.

House Democrats left the state a week ago to deny Republicans a quorum in an effort to block legislation that would create more voting restrictions in Texas. Members say they plan to stay away until the end of the special session next month.

State Rep. Celia Israel, a Democrat from Austin, said in a statement Sunday that she is among those in Washington who tested positive for the virus. She said she has been vaccinated against COVID and that she has only “mild symptoms.”

“I am currently quarantining until I test negative,” she said in the statement.

During an online press conference Monday, Democratic leaders said not much will change as they continue advocating for federal voting protections in D.C.

State Rep. Chris Turner, the chair of the Democratic caucus in the Texas House, said they have moved some meetings with advocates to Zoom. He said members are also following COVID protocols like masking.

Turner said Democrats have been aided by the fact that all members are vaccinated against the virus and the vaccines have been working.

“The handful of people who had a positive result on the rapid test either have no symptoms or very minor cold-like symptoms,” he said. “And so, the vaccines are proving to be very effective at preventing serious illness.”

State Rep. Gina Hinojosa, a Democrat from Austin, said that as of now there are no plans to stop meeting with lawmakers on the Hill as they urge them to pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

“To my knowledge … it has not affected meetings on the Hill,” she said Monday.

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