Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) confirmed Thursday that she was arrested as she engaged in a voting protest in Washington.
Lee and other protesters were standing in front of an entrance to the Senate Hart Building when the Capitol Police told them that it was their final warning and would have to disperse, according to footage posted by the Democrat’s office.
“Yes, I engaged in civil disobedience today in front of the Hart Building in Washington, D.C., and was arrested,” Jackson Lee said. “I believe when you are getting into good trouble—when you realize that the 15th Amendment has guaranteed the fundamental right to vote. Any action that is a peaceful action of civil disobedience is worthy and more to push all of us to do better and to do more.”
The protesters, according to Lee, were demanding the passage of two Democrat-backed election overhaul bills.
The Texas Democrat posted several photos and videos of herself being arrested and led away by police. A subsequent photo showed Lee, wearing a mask, exiting a building that appeared to be a jail or detainment facility.
Jackson Lee is at least the third lawmaker to be detained in recent weeks. Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, was arrested on July 15, while Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) was apprehended at another event near Capitol Hill. The Congressional Democrats said they protested to demand that the voting overhaul bills get passed.
Democrats have also claimed that Republican-backed voting bills in various state legislatures are attempts to suppress minority votes by making voting less convenient. Republicans, however, say that such bills are necessary to secure future elections and restore the public’s confidence in respective states’ election systems amid reports of irregularities during the Nov. 3, 2020 election.
And in the Senate, GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has repeatedly panned House Democrats’ voting bills and said Republicans won’t support them because the measure would grant too much power to the federal government over how elections are carried out. In June, Republican senators invoked the filibuster to block one of the bills.
“By now, the rotten inner workings of this power grab have been thoroughly exposed to the light,” McConnell said last month. “We know that it would let Democrats take a red pen to election laws in each of the 50 states. … It’s a recipe for undermining confidence in our elections. For remaking our entire system of government to suit the preferences of one far end of the political spectrum.”