Lawsuits challenging new voting restrictions in Texas cite these constitutional protections
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A new voter fraud law in Texas is being challenged in at least five lawsuits contending that the law unconstitutionally burdens the right to vote and violates the Voting Rights Act.
The law signed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, on Tuesday “imposes a raft of new restrictions on voting,” CNN reports.
The law bans county officials from distributing unsolicited vote-by-mail applications, bans drive-thru and overnight voting, adds new ID requirements for vote-by-mail ballots, imposes requirements on those offering voting assistance to people with disabilities, and says poll watchers can’t be denied “free movement” at polling places.
“These provisions will harm all Texas voters, but consistent with Jim Crow era tradition, the burdens will be disproportionately borne by Black and Latino voters and voters with disabilities,” says one of the lawsuits, filed by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
The lawsuits allege that the law hampers voting by minority voters and disabled people in violation of the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act.
The suits also claim that the law hampers vote collectors’ expressive conduct and political speech in violation of the First Amendment, that the law interferes with the right to cast a ballot in violation of the First and 14th Amendments, that vague provisions of the law violate 14th Amendment due process rights, that the law was enacted with discriminatory intent in violation of the 14th Amendment’s due process and equal protection clauses, and that the law violates the 15th Amendment’s ban on interfering with the right to vote on account of race.
A state court lawsuit alleges violations of the Texas Constitution’s protections for the right to vote, freedom of speech, due process and equal protection.
The suits include:
• Houston Justice v. Abbott. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, filed in federal court San Antonio, are the Houston Area Urban League, Houston Justice, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and the Arc of Texas. They are represented by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Reed Smith and the Arc of the United States, according to an NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund press release.
• La Union del Pueblo Entero v. Abbott. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in San Antonio, was filed on behalf of 10 organizations, an election official, an election judge and voters, according to a press release from the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law. They are represented by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund; the Brennan Center for Justice; Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson in New York; and Weil, Gotshal & Manges in Dallas.
• Texas State Conference of the NAACP v. Abbott. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, filed in state court in Harris County, Texas, are the Texas State Conference of the NAACP, Common Cause Texas, three election judges, one voter assistant and one registered voter in Harris County, according to a Common Cause Texas press release. They are represented by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and Dechert.
• OCA-Greater Houston v. Texas Secretary of State. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, filed in federal court in Austin, Texas, are the OCA-Greater Houston, the League of Women Voters of Texas, REV UP Texas, the Texas Organizing Project and the Workers Defense Action Fund, according to a press release by the American Civil Liberties Union. They are represented by the ALCU, the Texas Civil Rights Project, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Disability Rights Texas and Jenner & Block.
• Lulac Texas v. Esparza. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, filed in federal court in Austin, Texas, are the League of United Latin American Citizens, Voto Latino, the Texas Alliance for Retired Americans and Texas Aft. They are represented by Perkins Coie and the Elias Law Group. A press release is here.