DOJ is targeting Texas, plaintiff over SB1 voting law – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

The U.S. Department of Justice says it has filed a lawsuit against the state of Texas and Texas Secretary of State “over certain restrictive voting procedures imposed by Texas Senate Bill 1, which was signed into law in September 2021.”

The Department of Justice said the new Texas law violates two laws, both the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act.

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

The DOJ said the complaint alleges that Texas SB1 violates section 208 of the Voting Rights Act “by unfairly restricting what help in the polling station voters who have a disability or are unable to read or write can receive. The complaint claims that “SB1 harms these voters. by preventing their assistants from providing necessary assistance, including answering basic questions, answering requests to clarify ballot paper translations, or confirming that visually impaired voters have marked a ballot paper as intended.”

The DOJ also stated that the complaint alleges that SB1 violates Section 101 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 “by requiring the rejection of ballot papers and ballot request forms due to certain paper errors or omissions that are not essential to establish a voter’s right to cast a ballot. ballot paper The complaint calls on the court to prohibit Texas from enforcing these requirements. “

“The Civil Rights Department is committed to protecting the fundamental right to vote for all Americans,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Department said in a statement. “Laws that impair the access of eligible citizens to the ballot box do not belong in our democracy. The Texas Senate Bill 1’s restrictions on voter assistance at polling stations, and on which absent ballot papers cast by eligible voters can be accepted by election officials, are illegal and unjustifiable. “

In Tyler on Tuesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signs SB1 as law.

In September, he commented on the signing of State Senator Bryan Hughes’ (R-Tyler) bill, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) rejected argues that the law was covert voter repression and that it made it easier to vote, harder to cheat, and that safe and secure elections are critical.

“Senate Bill 1 ensures trust and confidence in our electoral system – and most importantly, it makes it easier to vote and harder to cheat,” Abbott said. “Safe and secure elections are crucial to the foundation of our state, and I thank Senator Hughes and Rep. Murr for their leadership in this important issue. I am proud to sign Senate Bill 1 into law to maintain the integrity of our elections. in Texas. “

Following the DOJ announcement Thursday afternoon, Abbott responded on Twitter, saying, “Bring it,” before defending state law that says it is legal, increases the number of hours to vote, restricts illegal ballot voting, and makes ballot collection a crime.

The State Attorney also took to Twitter and tweeted “Biden is coming after Texas for SB1” and “I want to see you in court, Biden!”

On Twitter, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton also said the legislation is “a big and much-needed bill. Ensuring Texas has safe, secure and transparent elections is a top priority for me.”

The department said it also filed a statement of interest Thursday in a federal court in Texas in a lawsuit filed by private plaintiffs challenging SB1. The declaration of interest deals with issues related to section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, including explaining that section 2 allows private plaintiffs to bring an action to remedy racially discriminatory voting practices.

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