On Tuesday, Governor Greg Abbott officially signed Senate Bill 1 in Tyler. The bill passed through the Texas Senate and House last week.
At the signing ceremony, Abbott was joined by fellow Republicans State Senator Bryan Hughes, State Rep. Andrew Murr, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. At the event, Abbott reiterated a number of false claims about the bill eliminating voter fraud, which is extremely rare in Texas.
In addition to banning 24-hour voting and drive-through voting, SB 1 also makes it more difficult to vote by mail and adds even further burdens on disabled Texans. It also creates more protections for partisan poll watchers at voting locations.
Even before Abbott signed the voter suppression bill, two lawsuits were filed against the legislation. MALDEF (The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) and the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law filed a challenge in San Antonio to SB 1 on Friday. In a statement, MALDEF Vice President of Litigation Nina Perales said that SB 1 discriminates on the basis of race. “In addition to making voting more difficult for all voters, SB1 is aimed directly at Latinos and Asian Americans with specific provisions that cut back on assistance to limited English-proficient voters.”
Last week another lawsuit against SB 1 was filed on behalf of the ACLU of Texas, the Texas Civil Rights Project, Disability Rights Texas, and more civil rights organizations stipulating that the bill violates the Voting Rights Act, the American with Disabilities Act, and the U.S. Constitution.
Minutes after Abbott signed SB 1, another lawsuit was filed by voting and civil rights organizations including Voto Latino, Texas Alliance for Retired Americans, Texas AFT, and LULAC Texas. On Tuesday, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund also filed a lawsuit in Texas against SB 1.
The signing of SB 1 also comes as a federal judge officially ruled recently that the state of Texas owes $6.8 million in legal fees after a lower court ruled that voter ID laws passed in 2011 discriminated against Black and Hispanic Texans.
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