Voting rights experts at the nonprofit The Brennan Center for Justice recently released their roundup of restrictive voting laws passed in 2021.
At least 19 states passed 34 bills into law restricting voting access, including Texas’ Senate Bill 1, which banned drive-thru and 24-hour voting, made it more difficult for disabeled Texans to vote, and prohibited election officials from sending out unsolicited mail ballot applications.
At least 49 states saw legislatures introduce some sort of legislation to restrict voting access.
More than a third of all restrictive voting laws enacted since 2011 were passed this year, and they were the most restrictive laws in a decade according to The Brennan Center for Justice.
Texas was also among six states in 2021 to enact politically motivated reviews or audits of the 2020 presidential election.
The Lone Star State continues to conduct an audit of the results, and earlier this year, the Republican-controlled state legislature attempted to pass a provision in their sweeping voter suppression bill that would have made it easier for judges to overturn elections.
Texas also continues to face two federal lawsuits for violating the Voting Rights Act with SB 1 and the state’s new district lines. Other civil rights groups and organizations have also filed litigation, bringing the total amount of lawsuits faced by the state to at least 20.
“The department’s career voting law experts have accessed Texas’ new redistricting rights plans, and determined that they include districts that violate the Voting Rights Act,” U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in December when announcing the department’s second lawsuit against Texas.
On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told Democratic colleagues the Senate would consider federal voting rights legislation in early January.
The legislation, the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, has been stalled in the upper chamber by Republicans who have blocked their advancement with the 60-vote filibuster rule, which at least two Democratic Senators, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, support keeping in place.
“If Senate Republicans continue to abuse the filibuster and prevent the body from considering this bill, the Senate will then consider changes to any rules which prevent us from debating and reaching final conclusion on important legislation,” Schumer said.
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