The NAACP offered to cover the bail for Texas Democrats who left the state this week to stall voting restrictions bills from advancing further in the state legislature. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott threatened the lawmakers with arrest upon their eventual return to the Lone Star state.
“War has been declared on democracy, and we will support anyone who stands up to defend it,” NAACP President Derrick Johnson said in a statement, The Huffington Post reported. “We are fully invested in good trouble.”
Over 50 Democratic state lawmakers boarded two charter planes on Monday (July 12) to Washington D.C. to urge Congress to pass federal voting rights legislation. Johnson said the group has the full support of the NAACP.
“We will not stand idly by as partisan politicians dismantle our system, oppress our voices and suppress our votes,” Johnson wrote in a tweet on Tuesday (July 13). “People have fought and died for the sacred right to vote. This is a time of crisis. Our constitution is being tested, and we need all hands on deck.”
In June, the Texas lawmakers first staged a walkout to protest the state’s legislative body from taking a vote on two voting restrictions bills. Abbott called a special session to vote on the bills, but the lawmakers left the state before a vote could be called.
Abbott withheld the lawmakers’ pay after the first walkout, now he says he plans to arrest them.
“As soon as they come back in the state of Texas, they will be arrested, they will be cabined inside the Texas Capitol until they get their job done,” Abbott told KVUE-TV. Texas, like more than 40 states in the country, advanced legislation restricting access to the ballot for voters. Georgia, Florida, and Arizona already passed laws restricting voting access.
The Texas Democrats said they plan to stay out of Texas until August 7 when the special session ends.