Democrats file lawsuit to stop “heinous assault” on voting rights in Texas

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Texas has historically been a very low voter turnout state. But Republicans here, through widespread attempted purges and legislation, want to keep it that way — at least for certain groups of voters. 

National and state Democrats have had enough. 

On Wednesday, the Texas Democratic Party, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee filed a lawsuit to challenge the GOP-imposed ban —which went into effect on Sept. 1 —on “mobile” early voting sites. These sites help young people living near colleges and universities vote. 

The ban discriminates against younger voters and violated the the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution. 

Calling the move a “heinous assault” on the right to vote, the state party’s chairman, Gilberto Hinojosa, said in a statement that “Republicans know Texas is changing, that’s why they’re trying to change the rules to make it harder for college students, seniors, the disability community, rural Texans, and survivors of natural disasters to cast their ballots.”

Cheri Bustos, DCCC chair, called it a “blatantly partisan attempt to shrink the electorate.”

The lawsuit makes clear that the availability of early voting sites led to the surge of 18% in voter turnout during the 2018 midterms.

Entities like the DCCC will also be harmed by the ban. In the suit, the group argues that it “will have to expend and divert additional funds and resources on GOTV [get out the vote], voter persuasion efforts, and other activities in Texas, at the expense of its efforts in other states, in order to combat the effects of [the ban on mobile sites] in getting out the vote among Texas’s young voters.”

Democrats filed the suit against the Texas Secretary of State, Ruth Hughes. Hughes recently replaced David Whitley, who led the botched attempt at a voter purge of 95,000 voters. He had to apologize for the scandal and was not confirmed to the position. 

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP via Getty Images

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