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Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee arrested at voting rights protest near Capitol

By
Kyle Barnett
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, speaks Thursday during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Later, she was arrested for participating at a voting rights demonstration on Capitol Hill. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, speaks Thursday during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Later, she was arrested for participating at a voting rights demonstration on Capitol Hill. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

July 30 (UPI) -- Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas was arrested on Capitol Hill Thursday for participating in a voting rights demonstration, and became the chamber's third Democrat in as many weeks to be arrested for the same thing.

Lee, who's represented Texas' 18th District since 1995, was cuffed with zip ties during the protest outside the Hart Senate Office Building.

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The demonstration was a response to voting rights legislation currently before Congress and state laws passed in recent months that critics say suppresses voters of color.

A defiant Lee posted about the incident on Twitter.

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"I believe when you are getting into good trouble, when you realize 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," Jackson Lee said in a Twitter video.

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"We did civilly disobey. We knew that the police officers had to do their job, but we were blocking ... the doors of the United States Senate," Lee said, according to KPRC-TV.

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"There is a D.C. jail near the grounds of the United States Capitol. The paddy wagon took us to that. We were booked. We were placed in a jail cell."

Georgia passed a law in March that requires stricter voter identification, limits ballot drop boxes and allows the state to take control of local elections. Opponents argued that it makes it more difficult for communities of color, those who speak English as a second language and the disabled to vote.

Earlier this month, Jackson's home state of Texas advanced a law to ban drive-through and 24 hour voting.

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Critics of the laws say they are a response to former President Donald Trump's baseless claims of voter fraud to explain away his loss last November to President Joe Biden. No evidence of widespread fraud has ever been presented and federal courts dismissed dozens of lawsuits filed in Trump's behalf.

Jackson was the third Democrat over the last three weeks to be arrested for participating in a voting rights protest. Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, was arrested at a demonstration on July 15 and Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., at a different event a week later.

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