Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Texas voters rally at the state capital

Demonstrators hold up signs at a rally at the Texas State Capitol on June 20, 2021 in Austin. (Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images)

Texas Groups File Suit Against 'Unconstitutional, Anti-Democratic' Voter Supression Law

"SB1 not only makes voting harder for all Texans, it threatens the most marginalized of us the most," said the ACLU. "We won't stop fighting until it's blocked."

Jon Queally

A lawsuit against a widely criticized voter suppression law in Texas was filed Friday by a group of civil rights organizations who argue the new restrictions imposed by Republican lawmakers in the state violate core constitutional protections.

"For democracy to work, it must include all voices. SB 1 is an extremist anti-voter bill that raises even more barriers to voting and specifically targets vulnerable communities, especially voters with disabilities, voters of color, and elderly voters."

Filed on behalf of several groups in Texas—including the League of Women Voters of Texas; the Texas Organizing Project; Workers Defense Action Fund; REV UP Texas; and OCA of Greater Houston—the lawsuit says that Senate Bill 1, which curtails early voting hours, bans drive-thru voting, and severly restricts vote-by-mail in the state, is in direct violation of the Voting Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the U.S. Constitution.

Representing the groups in the lawsuit is the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Texas, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Disability Rights Texas, the Texas Civil Rights Project, and the law firm of Jenner & Block LLP.

In a statement, the ACLU said that the implementation of S.B. 1 in Texas "makes it virtually impossible for members of the plaintiff organizations to vote, especially those who are more comfortable with languages other than English, those with disabilities, and who have no option but to vote by mail."

Citing public polling in Texas that shows majority support for the right to vote for all people in the state, the plaintiffs argue that while all Texans will be hurt by the new measures, it will be the poor, the elderly, communities of color, and those with disabilities who will suffer the most.

"For democracy to work, it must include all voices. S.B. 1 is an extremist anti-voter bill that raises even more barriers to voting and specifically targets vulnerable communities, especially voters with disabilities, voters of color, and elderly voters," said Grace Chimene, president of the League of Women Voters of Texas. "S.B. 1 is a violation of our freedom to vote, and we will continue to fight every attempt to silence Texas voters."

Emily Timm, co-founder and co-executive director of the Workers Defense Action Fund, called the legislation rammed through by the GOP "part of a larger coordinated attempt to take political power away from working families" in Texas.

"We should be aiming to increase civic engagement throughout our state," Timm said, "not make it more difficult for our communities to exercise their right to vote. Texans building our state deserve to have their voices heard at the ballot box and S.B. 1 will significantly impact their ability to do so."

According to Lia Sifuentes Davis, senior litigation attorney with Disability Rights Texas and acting co-counsel in the suit, "People with disabilities, who make up 20 percent of the U.S. population, already face significant barriers to exercising their legal right to vote, such as physically inaccessible polling sites, election workers refusing to provide accommodations, mail-in ballots that cannot be used by people who are blind, and more."

Vowing to defeat the law in court, Adriel Cepeda Derieux, senior staff attorney with the ACLU's Voting Rights Project, said, "This assault on voting rights and democracy cannot go unchallenged. We urge the court to strike down the barriers to voting that these new illegal restrictions impose."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

US Urged to End Drone Strikes After Pentagon Says Killing 10 Afghan Civilians Was 'Horrible Mistake'

"That was not a 'mistake,'" said journalist Anand Giridharadas. "War crimes are not oopsies."

Brett Wilkins ·

40+ NYC Activists Arrested for Protests Against Banks Fueling Climate Emergency

"We're sending a message loud and clear that the little action that politicians and greenwashing CEOs have taken so far does not begin to deal with the magnitude of this crisis."

Jessica Corbett ·

FDA Panel Recommends Pfizer Booster Shots for People 65+ and Especially Vulnerable

The scientific advisory committee voted down a recommendation for other adults.

Common Dreams staff ·

'What Betrayal Looks Like': UN Report Says World on Track for 2.7°C of Warming by 2100

"Whatever our so-called 'leaders' are doing," said Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, "they are doing it wrong."

Jake Johnson ·

Critics Warn Biden That 30% Methane Reduction by 2030 Not Good Enough

Following the new U.S.-E.U. pledge, climate campaigners called for an urgent end to fossil fuel extraction and major reforms of agricultural practices.

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo