Federal Court Challenge Announced To Stop GOP Voter Suppression

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In Texas, a coalition of voting rights organizations including Texas State LULAC and Voto Latino have, with the assistance of the legal team led by voting rights lawyer Marc Elias, filed a new lawsuit challenging suppressive new election restrictions that were recently signed into law. The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court, challenges a bill known as S.B. 1111, which imposes new restrictions on the process of establishing residence by voters ahead of an election, institutes new voter identification requirements, and more.

The bill was signed by Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott just days ago. Specifically, the legislation bans prospective voters from establishing their residence(s) in particular locations “for the purpose of influencing the outcome of a certain election,” which those behind the lawsuit observe could restrict voters from using addresses where they don’t live full-time for their voter registrations. College students, members of the military, and other individuals with similar life circumstances could be negatively impacted by the new Texas restrictions on registering at certain residences ahead of elections.

As Democracy Docket — Elias’s organization — put it, the new lawsuit “alleges that the bill — which prohibits establishing residence “for the purpose of influencing the outcome of a certain election,” restricts individuals from registering to vote using an address where they don’t live full-time, adds strict voter identification requirements for voters that use P.O. boxes to register to vote and more — violates the First, 14th and 26th Amendments.” To be clear, there is no apparent evidence that there’s any kind of meaningful threat posed by people moving to certain locations “for the purpose of influencing… an election.”

It’s just another Republican conspiracy theory — which could perhaps be wielded against newer Texas residents. With the state traditionally leaning Republican but a steady increase in the population sizes of major metropolitan areas — which often lean Democratic — throughout recent years, placing new arrivals under special scrutiny could disproportionately impact Democratic candidates and their supporters. Other court challenges against voter suppression moves backed by the GOP have already emerged in states including Georgia, Florida, and Kansas. The multiplying suppressive new election restrictions that the Republican Party has pushed have often been buoyed by the brazenly false claims from ex-President Donald Trump and others that systematic fraud plagued last year’s elections.