Major Legal Challenge Filed To Stop Texas Voter Suppression Law


Another court challenge has been filed against a suppressive new elections bill in Texas. This bill, which Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott signed into law on Tuesday, includes a raft of provisions that impede access to the ballot box, despite the fact that no systematic integrity problems were discovered with the conducting of last year’s elections. Among other new rules, the bill bans drive-thru voting, 24-hour voting, and the mailing of mail-in ballot applications by local officials without prior requests from voters. Each one of these scenarios played out in Harris County last year — which includes Houston and is a Democratic hub. In other words, whether admittedly on purpose or not, the bill seems designed to suppress Democratic voters specifically.

The new lawsuit against this bill is a federal case and includes LULAC Texas, Voto Latino, Texas Alliance for Retired Americans, and Texas AFT as plaintiffs. (“LULAC” is an acronym for the League of United Latin American Citizens, while “AFT” serves as an acronym for the American Federation of Teachers.) As explained by the voting rights organization Democracy Docket, the new lawsuit claims that the provisions of the newly signed elections bill “impose an undue burden on the right to vote in violation of the First and 14th Amendments, are purposely intended to limit minority voters’ access to the ballot box in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) and disproportionately impact voters with disabilities and limited language proficiencies in violation of Section 208 of the VRA.”

It seems difficult to accept the notion that those behind this new Texas elections law could have somehow missed the impacts that marginalized communities are poised to receive. In that way, the Texas bill seems similar to a sweeping elections bill recently signed into law by Georgia Republican Governor Brian Kemp. That law included a ban on mobile polling places — which were used in the Atlanta area last year. The Atlanta area has a sizable Black population and leans towards the Democrats, and in the end of last year and the beginning of this one, Democrats including Joe Biden, Raphael Warnock, and Jon Ossoff scored wins in the state, helping deliver control of the White House and Senate to the Democratic Party.

The Justice Department sued authorities in Georgia over the elections bill. That lawsuit claims that Georgia authorities put their elections law in place “with knowledge of the disproportionate effect that numerous provisions, both singly and together, would have on Black voters’ ability to participate in the political process on an equal basis with white voters.”