Federal Government Sues Texas Over Election Integrity Legislation - Texas Scorecard

The federal government filed suit over the recently passed omnibus election integrity legislation on Thursday.

The legislation, Senate Bill 1, finally passed in the second called special legislative session and is due to go into effect on December 2, 2021. It was a legislative priority of the Republican Party of Texas.

The lawsuit challenges “provisions of SB 1 that deny eligible voters meaningful assistance in the voting booth and require rejection of mail ballot materials for immaterial errors or omissions.”

It goes on to allege that the legislation violates both Section 208 of the Voting Rights Act and Section 101 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Brief Recent Legislative History

During the State of the State address given by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in February, election integrity legislation was named an emergency legislative priority, among other issues.

In the 87th regular legislative session earlier this year, the omnibus election integrity legislation that made it to the end of the legislative process had its prospects cut short when House Democrat lawmakers broke quorum, after being enabled by House Republican leadership to do so, precluding the legislation’s further consideration.

As a result, Abbott added it to the first called special legislative session, which began in July. Only a few days into that special session, House Democrat lawmakers (once again enabled by House Republican leadership) broke quorum, eventually holding the Texas Legislature hostage for upwards of 37 days.

It was not until well into the second called special session in late August that enough House lawmakers returned to allow consideration of the omnibus election integrity legislation. It eventually passed and was signed into law on September 7.

Five federal lawsuits filed in September have also been consolidated into a single case that involves more than two dozen plaintiffs represented by at least 60 lawyers.

What is Next?

The lawsuit has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in San Antonio.

It is unclear whether this new lawsuit or previously filed suits will halt the implementation of the election integrity legislation, let alone be ultimately successful.