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Analysis

We’re Suing Texas Over Its Cruel Voting Law

The voter suppression law violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Voting Rights Act, and First, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments.

September 8, 2021

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a massive voter suppres­sion bill into law Tues­day. It’s one more addi­tion to the wave of voting restric­tions being enacted across the coun­try in response to former Pres­id­ent Trump’s Big Lie of a stolen elec­tion. 

Senate Bill 1 makes it harder for voters with disab­il­it­ies or language-access barri­ers to get assist­ance. It also makes it easier for poll watch­ers to harass voters and elec­tion offi­cials. And, it bans 24-hour and drive-thru voting, meas­ures enacted to make it safer and easier to vote during the pandemic, which contin­ues to be espe­cially bad in Texas.

Last week, before Abbott even had a chance to sign the bill, we filed a federal lawsuit to stop the worst provi­sions, work­ing with our co-coun­sel at the Mexican Amer­ican Legal Defense and Educa­tional Fund (MALDEF), the Harris County Attor­ney’s Office, and the law firms of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacob­son LLP.

Our lawsuit lays out how the law viol­ates the First, Four­teenth, and Fifteenth Amend­ments, the Amer­ic­ans with Disab­il­it­ies Act, and the Voting Rights Act. Texas’s attack on voting rights is blatantly unlaw­ful and point­lessly cruel.

Abbott and the Repub­lican state lawmakers respons­ible for this trav­esty claim it’s all about “elec­tion integ­rity.” But this whop­per does­n’t hold up to any sort of scru­tiny. Like every­where else in the coun­try, there is abso­lutely no evid­ence of wide­spread fraud in the 2020 elec­tion. Abbott knows this. His own attor­ney general spent 22,000 hours look­ing for fraud. What did he find? Sixteen cases of false addresses on regis­tra­tion forms in a pool of nearly 17 million registered voters. Then his own secret­ary of state’s office told Repub­lican lawmakers what they didn’t want to hear: “Texas had an elec­tion that was smooth and secure.”  

We’re repres­ent­ing a wide range of plaintiffs, includ­ing the inter­faith advocacy organ­iz­a­tion Texas Impact, the Austin chapter of the Anti-Defam­a­tion League, and Harris County Elec­tions Admin­is­trator Isabel Longoria. This group repres­ents the diverse array of Texans whose voice the state is trying to silence, all of them united in defend­ing demo­cracy in the Lone Star State.

Texas was already among the states that made it hard­est to vote in this coun­try, and this latest attack on voting access brings it closer to the bottom of the heap. As the next elec­tion draws near, there’s no time to waste. Congress must listen to Texas Demo­crats, and other defend­ers of the Amer­ican people’s hard-fought right to vote, and pass the For the People Act and the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advance­ment Act.

The bills, both of which have passed the House, are a one-two punch against voter suppres­sion and would stop the worst restric­tions from being imple­men­ted before the next slate of federal elec­tions.