The Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against Texas over the state’s new voting restrictions that the federal government believes will violate the federal voting rights law and disenfranchise eligible voters.
The suit was filed on Thursday (Nov. 4) in federal court in San Antonio and will challenge SB1, which was passed earlier this year in an effort to improve election procedures in the state, reports CNN. Under the new legislation, 24-hour and drive-thru voting has been outlawed. It also makes it harder for voters to cast their ballots through the mail and empowers certain poll watchers.
The DOJ says the law illegally restricts the rights of voters by rejecting mail-in ballots “for immaterial errors and omissions.” SB 1 also harms the rights of voters who are deployed members of the military, those who are overseas and those who have limited English proficiency.
“Before SB 1, the State of Texas already imposed some of the strictest limitations in the nation on the right of certain citizens to voting assistance,” the Justice Department said. “SB 1 further, and impermissibly, restricts the core right to meaningful assistance in the voting booth.”
Back in September, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed SB 1 into effect, claiming that it will expand polling access by increasing early morning voting hours and prevent cheating from taking place.
“I feel extremely confident that when this law makes it through the litigation phase it will be upheld because exactly what we’ve said, it does make it easier for people to be able to go vote. No one who is eligible to vote will be denied the opportunity to vote,” Gov. Abbott previously said. “… It does make it easier than ever before for anybody to go cast a ballot. It does also, however, make sure it is harder than ever for people to cheat at the ballot box.”