U.S. Justice Department Sues Texas Over a Law Restricting Voting
Texas has been sued by the US. Department of Justice for a law that restricts the use of mail-in ballots.
Part of the Biden administration’s efforts is to fight the new voting restrictions put in place in Republican-controlled states.
The Texas Senate Bill 1, which Governor Greg Abbott signed into law in September, is targeted by the department’s lawsuit for allegedly violating voters’ rights. In the bill, Officials are prohibited from sending unsolicited mail-in ballot applications under Texas law, which makes it more difficult to vote through the mail.
As part of the bill, mail-in voting will require identification as well as a prohibition on 24-hour voting, restrictions on early voting, and restrictions on who can assist voters with disabilities or language barriers.
According to the Justice Department complaint, the Texas bill severely restricts the right of voters who are disabled or who are unable to read or write to receive adequate voting assistance.
“The challenged provisions will disenfranchise eligible Texas citizens who seek to exercise their right to vote, including voters with limited English proficiency, voters with disabilities, elderly voters, members of the military deployed away from home, and American citizens residing outside of the country,” the lawsuit filed against Texas reads.
The former governor has previously defended the law as a means to combat voter fraud.
It is believed that Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud have been cited by Texas officials as a reason to oppose expanding voting access.
Abbott responded to the lawsuit on Thursday afternoon via Twitter, stating that:
“Bring it. The Texas election integrity law is legal. It INCREASES hours to vote. It does restrict illegal mail ballot voting. Only those who qualify can vote by mail. It also makes ballot harvesting a felony. In Texas, it is easier to vote but harder to cheat.”
The Justice Department of the Biden Administration and Long Conflicting Past with its States
This is the second time in a row that the Biden Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against a state on voting rights.
A lawsuit has been filed by the Justice Department against the state of Georgia after its new election law allegedly violates the rights of Black voters.
Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the latter lawsuit earlier this year.
Georgia’s attorney general later asked a judge in a court filing to dismiss the lawsuit because it is “not a serious legal challenge but a politically motivated effort to usurp the constitutional authority of Georgia’s elected officials to regulate elections.”
Biden has taken legal action against Texas state laws and executive orders on three separate occasions since assuming office in January altogether.
After the Biden Justice Department sued Texas over its near-total ban on abortion, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on it earlier this week.
A lawsuit was also filed against Texas seeking to stop an executive order that would restrict undocumented immigrants’ travel into the state, which may pose a risk of spreading COVID-19.
According to a preliminary ruling in favor of the Biden Administration published in August, Abbott’s executive order “conflicts with, and poses an obstacle to, federal immigration law.”