WASHINGTON (KXAN) — The U.S. Justice Department on Thursday announced it is suing Texas and the Texas Secretary of State over the state’s new voting regulations, which were signed into law in September.
State Republicans say Senate Bill 1 is a way to secure Texas elections. It bans 24-hour polling places, increases ID requirements and implements restrictions on drive-through voting and voting by mail. Those against the law say it makes it more challenging for some Texans to vote, namely communities of color.
The complaint by the Justice Department claims the law violates Section 208 of the Voting Rights Act by preventing voters with disabilities or voters who cannot read or write from getting the necessary help they need while voting.
The Justice Department also argues the law violates Section 101 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by requiring mail ballots and mail ballot request forms with certain paperwork errors or omissions be rejected, even if those errors are “not material” to determining a voter’s eligibility to cast a ballot.
“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 complaint reads.
The Justice Department goes on to say these “vulnerable voters” already have a hard time casting their ballots, and the Texas laws will only exacerbate their challenges.
Gov. Greg Abbott responded to the lawsuit on Twitter, stating that the state’s election integrity law “is legal.”
“In Texas, it is easier to vote but harder to cheat,” the governor tweeted.
The complaint asks the court to stop the state of Texas from enforcing these new rules.
The Justice Department also says it filed a statement of interest Thursday in a Texas federal court.