Voting in Texas has never been easy. Even before the Texas Legislature passed S.B. 1, Texas was among the states that make it hardest for voters to register and vote, with some of the most onerous voting restrictions in the country.
But on August 31, the Texas legislature made it even harder to vote by passing S.B. 1, an omnibus voter suppression bill. S.B. 1’s “anti-solicitation” provision makes it a state jail felony for public officials and election officials to solicit mail ballot applications from voters who are eligible or may be eligible to vote by mail.
On December 10, the Brennan Center and the Harris County Attorney’s Office filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, challenging S.B. 1’s anti-solicitation provision under the U.S. Constitution. For more information about the Brennan Center’s lawsuit challenging other provisions of S.B. 1, LUPE v. Abbott, click here.
We represent Harris County Elections Administrator Isabel Longoria and Cathy Morgan, a volunteer deputy registrar. Plaintiffs assert that S.B. 1’s anti-solicitation provision violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments because it criminalizes constitutionally protected speech.
Plaintiffs are also represented by Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP.
On December 27, plaintiffs filed an amended complaint naming the local district attorneys of Harris County, Williamson County, and Travis County as defendants in the lawsuit. And on December 28, Plaintiffs filed a preliminary injunction requesting the court to enjoin S.B. 1’s anti-solicitation provision no later than February 14, 2022. Plaintiffs seek this quick relief to ensure that Texas voters can meet the deadline of February 18, 2022, to request a mail ballot application for the March 1, 2022 primary election.