Country music legend Willie Nelson helped close out a four-day march in support of voting rights that ended at the state Capitol in Austin, Texas, on Saturday. The march was led in part by former Representative Beto O'Rourke, CBS affiliate KEYE-TV reports.
The march began Wednesday in Georgetown and concluded Saturday, with a group of pallbearers bringing a coffin representing "the death of good legislation" to the Capitol, according to KEYE. William Barber acted as master of ceremonies and called on the U.S. government to raise the minimum wage, end the filibuster and pass the For the People Act, KEYE reports. The bill wasby Senate Republicans in June, but Democrats still plan to push forward on voting rights legislation.
"Democrats are doing everything they can to save this democracy, including taking the fight to the one place it can be won, in our nation's capital before the U.S. Senate," O'Rourke said Saturday.
Texas House Democrats are still in Washington, D.C., where they have been sincein order to deny House Republicans a quorum during a special legislative session. As a result, the Texas House has been unable to conduct business, preventing the legislature from passing a GOP-backed voting and elections bill.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has said he will call a new special session once the Democrats return. The current special session will expire next week.
Nelson helped close out the rally with a short set, which included the 88-year-old's 2018 song, "Vote 'Em Out."
"It is important that we ensure the right for EVERY American to vote and vote safely," Nelson said in a statement through the Poor People's Campaign announcing his participation in the rally. "Laws making it more difficult for people to vote are un-American and are intended to punish poor people, people of color, the elderly and disabled-why? If you can't win playing by the rules, then it's you and your platform — not everyone else's ability to vote."
Texas is one of several GOP-led states that has introduced voting and elections bills following the 2020 election. Democrats have framed these bills as attacks on voting rights, while Republicans have defended them as reforms needed to help combat voter fraud and maintain elections security.
There has beenof widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election. Former CISA director Chris Krebs the "most secure in American history."