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The Biden administration is suing Texas over the state’s restrictive voting law that was signed into law in September and is set to got into effect Dec. 2.
The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit in a federal court Thursday claiming that the Republican-led law contains several provisions that “will disenfranchise eligible Texas citizens who seek to exercise their right to vote.”
Justice officials say those people include “voters with limited English proficiency, voters with disabilities, elderly voters, members of the military” who are deployed and American citizens who are out of the country.
“These vulnerable voters already confront barriers to the ballot box,” the DOJ says, “and SB 1 will exacerbate the challenges they face in exercising their fundamental right to vote.”
State Attorney General Ken Paxton wrote on Twitter: “[President] Biden is coming after Texas for SB1, our recently enacted election integrity law. It’s a great and a much-needed bill. Ensuring Texas has safe, secure, and transparent elections is a top priority of mine. I will see you in court, Biden!”
In particular, the DOJ raised concerns about provisions of the Texas law that add new rules and restrictions around what kinds of assistance voters with disabilities can receive at the polls.
The Biden administration also is challenging the changes state lawmakers made to mail-in voting. Federal officials claim new identification requirements could disenfranchise eligible voters.
“By requiring rejection of mail ballot materials that do not contain identification numbers that identify the same voter identified on the voter’s application for voter registration,” the lawsuit says, “SB 1 mandates rejection of written materials requisite to voting based on errors or omissions that are not material to determining a voter’s qualification to vote or vote by mail.”
In June, the Biden Justice Department sued Georgia for its new voting law, alleging it targets Black voters.
In their lawsuit against Texas, DOJ officials also raise concerns about the state’s long history of passing laws that discriminate against vulnerable communities, including people with disabilities and people of color.
“The State of Texas’s history of official voting-related discrimination against its disfavored citizens is longstanding and well-documented,” officials wrote. “Federal intervention has been necessary to eliminate numerous devices intentionally used to restrict minority voting in Texas.”