Several civil rights organizations immediately filed lawsuits against a new voter integrity law signed passed by the GOP-controlled Texas legislature and signed by GOP Gov. Greg Abbott.
The groups say that the new law makes it harder for minorities to cast ballots and allege that the measure is really aimed at suppressing voting, not enhancing it.
However, in signing the bill, Abbott said its aim is to make sure that every Texan eligible to vote has the freedom and right to do so while making it harder to cheat.
One suit was filed by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund immediately after the measure was signed into law, with the group saying the bill “intentionally targets and burdens methods and means of voting used by voters of color.”
#BREAKING: LDF, Reed Smith LLP, and The Arc have filed a federal lawsuit challenging S.B. 1, the new Texas law targeting voting rights.
The lawsuit argues that the law intentionally targets and burdens methods and means of voting used by voters of color.https://t.co/slvlw3AF6H
— Legal Defense Fund (@NAACP_LDF) September 7, 2021
Another suit was filed by The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and Dechert LLP in state district court in Harris County on behalf of the Texas State Conference of the NAACP and Common Cause Texas as well as others, according to Axios.
“Texas legislators know exactly what they are trying to do – use brazen tactics to disenfranchise Black voters, Latinx voters, and other voters of color who are a growing part of the electorate and who turned out and made their voices heard in 2020,” Damon Hewitt, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, claimed.
LULAC and Voto Latino have filed a lawsuit as well, joining Texas American Federation of Teachers and the Texas Alliance for Retired Americans.
Those groups also claim that the new law puts “an undue burden on the right to vote,” while adding that the law “purposely” restricts access to voters of color, as well as voters with disabilities and limited English skills.
Abbott disagreed, however, declaring, “This bill will make it easier to vote and harder to cheat.”
He added that the bill “ensures that every eligible voter will have the opportunity to vote” by expanding the number of hours polling places remain open, “fixes [the] problem” of fraud-prone mail-in balloting by requiring an ID, and makes ballot harvesting a felony in the third degree.
Texas Democrats managed to delay passage of the bill by fleeing the state last month and denying majority Republicans a quorum. Most of them flew to Washington, D.C., where they held meetings with various Democratic officials and lawmakers as well as Vice President Kamala Harris. They began streaming back into the state after Republicans and Abbott threatened to have the arrested and brought to the Capitol in Austin for a special session the governor had called.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in May took Democrats and their media supporters to task for always falling back on race as a cudgel to use against GOP political opponents.
“Well, look, unfortunately, the left regularly traffics in racism and bigotry and their view is that any minority, I’m Hispanic, if you’re Hispanic, if you’re African American, you are not allowed to disagree with your leftist overlords,” Cruz said.
“You must obey their orthodoxy or they will ridicule you. They’ll attack you, they’ll mock you, and I got to say, the left really is quite comfortable with seeing that kind of bigotry play out.”
Cruz and most other Republicans in Congress have been pushing back on Democratic legislation that would amount to a dramatic overhaul of state voting laws, putting elections more in control of the federal government.