Wendy Davis, the Democratic Texas state senator whose 11-hour-long filibuster of a restrictive anti-abortion bill catapulted her into the national spotlight, said that she knows that the Texas senate deliberately falsified a time stamp of the vote in an effort to illegally pass the legislation before a midnight deadline.
In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Wednesday night, Davis addressed the fact that the Texas Legislature initially recorded the time of the vote on official documents as having taken place after midnight on Wednesday but later changed it to indicate that it had occurred before midnight on Tuesday. “I know it was done intentionally,” Davis said.
She said that a staff member at the Texas Capitol informed another senator that the official voting record had been deliberately changed in order to make it appear that Senate Bill 5 had passed. “We know it was purposeful,” Davis said. “I think there will be further investigation.”
The time-stamp change has quickly become one of the most controversial details surrounding Davis’ filibuster. Kathy Gill, a tech policy analyst and blogger for the Moderate Voice, said that when she initially logged into the legislature’s website it accorded with the time at which she heard the votes taken on a live stream. Gill wrote that moments later the site appeared to have been taken offline and when it reloaded the time stamps had been amended.
“Why is this important? Because the special session ended at midnight,” Gill wrote. “In my experience (I’ve done Web work since 1993 or so), pages like this one are automatically generated from a database file. In other words, a person doesn’t code the page. ... In other words, changes like this are deliberate.”
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Davis wasn’t the only senator to claim fraud. Sen. Leticia Van De Putte, D-San Antonio, who notably arrived near the end of the filibuster because she was attending her father’s funeral, told Texas Public Radio that Republican senators had requested that clerks alter the time.
"My understanding is, if you forge a government document or if you alter a government document, I think that might be a felony. That is a very serious, very serious thing," Van De Putte said.
One day after the filibuster, Gov. Rick Perry called for a second special session, which would allow senate Republicans 30 more days to pass the legislation, the Texas Tribune reports.
"I am calling the legislature back into session, because too much important work remains undone for the people of Texas. Through their duly elected representatives, the citizens of our state have made crystal clear their priorities for our great state," Perry said. "Texans value life and want to protect women and the unborn. Texans want a transportation system that keeps them moving. Texans want a court system that is fair and just. We will not allow the breakdown of decorum and decency to prevent us from doing what the people of this state hired us to do."
“I think the most important thing we accomplished is we empowered the voice of people in Texas -- people who wanted to stand against this big government intrusion to their personal lives and liberty,” Davis said. “What I think this has done is empower people to understand that when they involve themselves in a democracy they truly can make a difference. They made a difference in the Texas Capitol yesterday, and I think this will linger, Anderson.”