(Reuters) – Two more members of a Texas Democratic Party delegation of lawmakers who fled their state delaying passage of what they say are restrictive voting laws have tested positive for COVID-19, officials said on Sunday.
The Texas House Democratic Caucus said in an emailed statement that it’s now providing daily COVID testing for the more than 50 lawmakers who fled Texas. So far, five delegation members have tested positive for COVID – and all are fully vaccinated.
The delegation members met last week with several top leaders, including Vice President Kamala Harris.
Harris’ office said that they did not think the vice president, who is fully vaccinated, nor her staff were at risk of exposure as they were not in close contact with any of the five delegation members who have tested positive.
Harris visited Walter Reed National Military Medical Center hospital on Sunday for a previously scheduled medical appointment that was not connected to the situation with the Texas Democrats, her office said.
COVID-19 cases in the United States have surged over the past week with new cases up 70% and deaths rising 26%.
The Texas Democrats last Monday left a special legislative session called by Republican Governor Greg Abbott to pass a new voting law and other measures.
The proposed voting law would prohibit drive-through and 24-hour voting locations, add new identification requirements to mail-in voting and empower partisan poll watchers.
Democratic lawmakers staged a similar walkout on May 30 to boycott a vote on an earlier version of the voting legislation just before the legislature’s regular session ended, prompting Abbott to call the special session.
Texas is one of a number of Republican-led states pushing new voting restrictions in the name of enhancing election security, citing former President Donald Trump’s false claims that his November election defeat was the result of widespread fraud.
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