Justice Department files voting rights lawsuit against Texas
AUSTIN, Texas - The U.S. Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against Texas over certain restrictive voting procedures imposed by Texas Senate Bill 1.
Senate Bill 1 was signed into law in September 2021 by Governor Greg Abbott. The law establishes new rules for voting by mail, strengthens protections for partisan poll watchers and rolls backs local voter initiatives used primarily in Harris County in the 2020 election.
The United States is alleging the new voting restrictions violate Section 208 of the Voting Rights Act and Section 101 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, according to a press release from the DOJ.
Senate Bill 1 violates the Voting Rights Act by improperly restricting assistance in the polling booth for voters who have a disability or are unable to read or write can receive, according to the DOJ. The complaint alleges that Senate Bill 1 harms those voters by barring their assistors from providing necessary help, including answering basic questions, responding to requests to clarify ballot translations, or confirming that voters with visual impairments have marked a ballot as intended.
The lawsuit also argues that Senate Bill 1 violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by requiring rejection of mail ballots and mail ballot request forms because of certain paperwork errors or omissions that are not material to establishing a voter’s eligibility to cast a ballot.
The lawsuit asks the court to prohibit Texas from enforcing these requirements.
"Our democracy depends on the right of eligible voters to cast a ballot and to have that ballot counted," said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. "The Justice Department will continue to use all the authorities at its disposal to protect this fundamental pillar of our society."
Read the lawsuit below:
The Texas Tribune contributed to this article
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