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Texas state Reps. Carl Sherman (center) and Rep. Ana-Maria Ramos (right). Texas House Democrats lobbied for an end to the filibuster, passage of the For The People Act and restoration of the Voting Rights Act while in D.C. this month. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

The contentious holdout that followed 50 Texas House Democrats' departure from the state came to an end on Thursday after 38 days, AP reports.

Why it matters: Democrats fled the state in July to protest GOP-led voting restrictions, flying to D.C. instead to urge federal action on voting rights. Enough returned on Thursday to resume quorum, days after the Texas Supreme Court ruled that they can be arrested if they don't attend the state Capitol.

State of play: Most have continued to avoid the state Capitol, but the few who returned to the Texas House justified the move by claiming their work with Congress was done.

  • They also noted the state's rapidly rising COVID case count and argued they could better fight the GOP's elections bill "from the inside," according to the Corpus Christi Caller Times.
    • "Now, we continue the fight on the House Floor," Democratic state Reps. Garnet Coleman, Ana Hernandez and Armando Walle said in a joint statement on Thursday.
  • Other Texas Democrats criticized their actions. "[W]e were literally on caucus calls for 2 hours this morning and none of the defecting Democrats mentioned they were planning on helping the Republicans pass voter suppression bills," state Rep. Ana-Maria Ramos tweeted.
    • "Guess what the other defecting Democrats have accomplished by going back—NOTHING!"

Worth noting: The federal voting rights protections they lobbied for in D.C. are unlikely to avoid GOP challenges in Congress.

What to watch: Republicans will aim to pass restrictive voting legislation before the current special session ends on Sept. 5. Critics say it will disproportionately impact voters of color.

  • More than 16 million people are registered to vote in Texas, per AP.

Go deeper

What to know before heading to the polls in Austin

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Early voting for the Nov. 2 election is here, and Austin voters will weigh in on two local propositions, in addition to eight Texas constitutional amendments.

State of play: So far, turnout has been low. Just 2.25% of Travis County voters headed to polls or voted by mail during the first three days of early voting, according to the Travis County clerk's office.

Yes, but: That's not unusual for an election in which no major political offices are on the ballot.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas cases, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's own 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks.

Oct 22, 2021 - Axios Des Moines

More than 100 Polk County absentee ballot requests rejected

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

At least 130 Polk County voters submitted absentee ballot requests via mail after Monday's 5pm deadline, according to a county auditor's report provided to Axios by Polk County Democrats.

Why it matters: The Nov. 2 elections mark the first time voters head to the polls since Gov. Kim Reynolds signed new voting rules into law.

  • Shorter timeframes and far more restrictive rules could make it harder for communities of color, individuals with disabilities and elderly voters to cast ballots, groups like LULAC Iowa argue.

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