US Sues Texas Over New Voting Law

Legislation affects rights of disabled voters, members of military, filing says
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2021 6:55 PM CDT
US Sues to Block Texas Voting Restrictions
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a news conference in Austin in June. He expressed confidence Thursday that the federal lawsuit would fail.   (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

Although Gov. Greg Abbott said a new voting law would make it "easier than ever" for Texans to cast a ballot, the Justice Department filed suit Thursday arguing that the legislation would instead disenfranchise various groups of eligible voters. The law makes many changes, but the suit emphasizes two provisions in particular, the Texas Tribune reports, concerning help for people in the voting booth and rejection of mail-in ballots. The filing says the law, which is to take effect before the primary elections next year, endangers the voting rights of citizens who have disabilities, don't speak English, are older, or don't live in the US, per the New York Times.

"Texas already imposed some of the strictest limitations in the nation on the right of certain citizens to voting assistance," says the suit, which was filed in federal court in San Antonio. The new law "further, and impermissibly, restricts the core right to meaningful assistance in the voting booth." It says members of the military would be among those affected, per CNN. Abbott defended the law after the federal suit was filed. "Bring it. ... In Texas it is easier to vote but harder to cheat," the governor tweeted.

The Justice Department and Texas are already in court battles involving abortion rights, immigration enforcement, and vaccine mandates. "Finally, a Justice Department that fights for justice," the NAACP president told CNN. House Democrats had left the state in July to prevent Republicans from passing the legislation. Those Democrats welcomed the federal government's intervention on Thursday, expressing gratitude to the Justice Department "for taking decisive action to stop Texas Republicans' continued attacks on our democracy." They again pressed Congress to pass federal voting rights legislation. (More Texas stories.)

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