Law

Justice Department sues Texas over election integrity legislation

The Department of Justice announced Thursday that it filed a lawsuit against Texas, targeting a state law that proponents say aims to make elections more secure.

Senate Bill 1 was signed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in early September, establishing new rules for mail-in voting while increasing the number of partisan poll watchers and giving the state more control over local voting operations.

“Our democracy depends on the right of eligible voters to cast a ballot and to have that ballot counted,” Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in a statement. “The Justice Department will continue to use all the authorities at its disposal to protect this fundamental pillar of our society.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing examining the Department of Justice on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. 

Attorney General Merrick Garland testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing examining the Department of Justice on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021.  (Tasos Katopodis/Pool via AP)

DOJ alleges that the Texas law violates Section 208 of the federal Voting Rights Act by “improperly restricting what assistance in the polling booth voters who have a disability or are unable to read or write can receive.” The law “harms those voters by barring their [assisters] from providing necessary help,” DOJ states.

DOJ also alleges the law violates Section 101 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The legislation requires “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 Justice Department states.

The U.S. and Texas flags wave outside the Texas Capitol on July 13, 2021 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Montinique Monroe/Getty Images)

The U.S. and Texas flags wave outside the Texas Capitol on July 13, 2021 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Montinique Monroe/Getty Images)

Shortly before signing the law, Abbott said that “Senate Bill 1 will solidify trust and confidence in the outcome of our elections by making it easier to vote and harder to cheat.”

Republicans have argued the bill is a necessary step to put a stop to voter fraud in the state and boost voter confidence in the integrity of elections. Democrats, however, claim there is no evidence to support the notion that widespread voter fraud is a problem in the state.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton responded to the lawsuit with a tweet arguing the law is “great and much-needed” for the Lone Star State and insisted he would see Biden “in court.”

Written by Kyle Morris

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