87th LegislatureFederalState HouseState SenateCivil Rights Groups File Lawsuit Against Texas Election Bill Approved by Legislature

The new election bill hasn’t been signed yet, but a lawsuit is already challenging its legitimacy in federal court.
September 3, 2021
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Multiple civil rights groups have filed a lawsuit in federal court targeting the new election bill that was recently approved by the Texas Legislature.

The bill, Senate Bill (SB) 1, has yet to be signed by the governor, but Gov. Greg Abbott gave his approval of it earlier this week when it was finally passed by both chambers.

Whereas supporters of the bill argue that its provisions would make it “easy to vote and hard to cheat,” the plaintiffs of the lawsuit follow the arguments of the bill’s opponents in claiming that the legislation will suppress votes.

In their lawsuit, the plaintiffs allege that SB 1 “restricts voter assistance; enables partisan poll watchers to intimidate voters and poll workers; and threatens to criminalize community-based voter engagement activities.”

The lawsuit is also critical of the steps the bill takes to curb certain voting policies that were experimented with for the first time last year, such as drive-thru voting and 24-hour voting.

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For relief, they are asking the court for a declaratory judgment that SB 1 violates federal law, an injunction to prohibit the enforcement of it, attorneys’ fees, and an order requiring Texas to obtain preclearance for “all changes in statewide voting practices for a period of ten years.”

Plaintiffs in the suit include several groups such as regional offices of the Anti-Defamation League and the Mexican-American Bar Association of Texas, and they are represented by attorneys with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School.

“SB1 will reduce voter participation and discriminate on the basis of race, and for those reasons it should be struck down in court,” said Nina Perales, the vice president of litigation for MALDEF.

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Daniel Friend

Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.