By J.D. Miles

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Texas House Democrats say their exodus from Austin to Washington, DC is encouraging Democrats in Congress to move forward with a federal voting rights bill.

State Representative Julie Johnson says she’s expecting to hold out at least a month if necessary to prevent Republican leaders from passing a controversial election reform bill.

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“This is not an easy thing to just jump out of your life and say you’re gonna be gone for a month,” says Rep. Johnson.” “But we’re doing that because we believe so passionately about what we’re doing.”

The Dallas County Democrat is among those, including State Representative Carl Sherman, who walked out of the special session and now faces the threat of arrest from Governor Abbott who said they will be cabined and corralled in Austin if they return to Texas.

“I don’t know the governor’s heart… I know that he said some very threatening things,” says Rep. Sherman.

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He believes there are racial undertones behind the words and actions of Republican leaders.

“We had a legal right as an option to do what we had to do,” he says, “it’s not a coincidence the states that are primarily focused on this are states that have a Iong Confederate history.

Sherman and Johnson, along with about 50 other Democrats say they will continue to spend their days in DC meeting with congressional Democrats and pushing for a federal voting rights bill that they hope would nullify the bill Republicans want to pass in Texas.

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