Two Democrat lawmakers from Texas were arrested outside the U.S. Capitol and Supreme Court buildings in Washington on Aug. 3 while protesting against what they said were efforts to pass more restrictive voter laws.
Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) and Texas state Rep. Ron Reynolds were taken into custody by U.S. Capitol Police officers, according to video and statements posted on social media by the two lawmakers.
Green posted a video of himself and Reynolds standing next to each other on a crosswalk joining a crowd singing the gospel anthem “We Shall Overcome.”
Two Capitol Police officers are seen in the video approaching Green and Reynolds, with one of the officers putting a wristband around Green’s wrists and the other leading him away from the scene.
“Proud to fight for the voting rights of those I serve by any means necessary,” Green said in a follow-up Twitter post, which included a photo of him holding what appears to be a police citation for “crowding, obstructing, or incommoding,” a violation of D.C. Code Section 22-1307, which carries a $50 fine.
Proud to fight for the voting rights of those I serve by any means necessary. pic.twitter.com/LJ9Kp5EQl2
— Congressman Al Green (@RepAlGreen) August 3, 2021
Green told The Texas Tribune that during the protest, he and others went into the street to pray and were told by police that they would be arrested if they hadn’t moved after three warnings.
In a statement on Twitter, Reynolds said that he and Green were arrested “while peacefully protesting against voter suppression, protecting access to the ballot and preserving our precious right to vote.”
Rep. Reynolds was arrested today along with @RepAlGreenTX in Washington D.C. while peacefully protesting against voter suppression, protecting access to the ballot and preserving our precious right to vote. #TeamReynolds #goodtrouble #JohnLewisVotingRightsAct pic.twitter.com/PmSoDoMMQZ
— State Representative Ron Reynolds (@ronereynolds) August 3, 2021
Reynolds is one of dozens of Texas state lawmakers who broke quorum in the legislature by fleeing the state earlier in July to block a GOP-backed election overhaul bill.
Texas Republicans argue the bill is necessary to safeguard future elections and restore the public’s confidence in them. Democrats say the measure would place unfair restrictions on minority groups when they cast their ballots.
Green told CNN that he was protesting against efforts to pass more restrictive voting laws at the state level, including in Texas.
Democrats have been fighting against what they characterize as voter suppression measures, while seeking to pass sweeping elections overhaul legislation called the “For the People Act” that cleared the House but was blocked by Senate Republicans.
Critics have argued that if the bill becomes law in its present form, it would give the federal government too much power over elections by imposing mandates on the states. They said it would eliminate basic security protocols that states have in place, and interfere with the ability of states to determine the qualifications and eligibility of voters, while failing to ensure the accuracy of voter registration lists.