AUSTIN, Texas - Four groups have filed a lawsuit to block the controversial Texas election bill Senate Bill 1 which Governor Greg Abbott just signed into law.
Voto Latino, LULAC Texas, the Texas Alliance for Retired Americans, and the Texas American Federation of Teachers filed the suit calling SB1 a "draconian voting law that is one of the most restrictive of its kind."
The groups contend that the new law's "core provisions will deeply degrade the democratic cornerstones of representation and fairness, particularly for people of color and older Texans."
SB 1 is a rewrite of the state’s election code. It tightens voting-by-mail rules, prevents local efforts to expand voting options, increases access for partisan poll watchers, and sets new rules — and possible criminal penalties — for those who assist voters in casting their ballots. The governor has said SB 1 will ensure "election integrity in Texas."
The groups say the bill's restrictions tighten what are already some of the most restrictive voting rules in the United States.
Maria Teresa Kumar, CEO of Voto Latino, says, "Not only are we filing suit to protect the right to vote for all people of color, and the additional 250,000 young Latino Tejanos who will reach voting age in 2022, but to protect every Texan’s right to vote. A thriving, healthy democracy demands maximum participation by all eligible voters. It’s time lawmakers stop the assault on voting rights and instead compete for our votes with ideas."
"Older people take the right to vote seriously, and this law will make it much more difficult for Texas seniors to exercise their constitutional right to vote," said Gene Lantz, President of the Texas Alliance for Retired Americans. "Seniors rely on early voting and mail ballots to vote without standing in long lines on Election Day. Many older Texans also have physical limitations and may decide not to vote out of fear of intimidation or harassment at the polls. This law is an affront to democracy, and we are suing to make sure everyone’s voices are heard at the ballot box."
"This law is part of a dangerous, coordinated national campaign to keep millions of Americans from voting," said Richard Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans. "Our members are united in the belief that we should be making it easier for voters to cast a ballot, not more difficult."
The groups also say that economists in Texas and nationally believe SB1 would badly hurt the Texas economy and jobs in the state.