Here we go: DOJ sues Texas over new voting law

AP Photo/Eric Gay

The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Texas over the new election law known as SB 1. DOJ seeks to stop two parts of the new law. Governor Abbott signed SB 1 in September and it is set to take effect next month ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.

Merrick Garland and his justice department are taking the side of the Democrats who fled the state rather than do the work of reforming Texas voting law after the 2020 election. Garland’s DOJ objects to the law’s voter id requirements for mail-in ballots and the limits on voter assistance. The lawsuit argues that these requirements violate federal voting and civil rights protections.

“Our democracy depends on the right of eligible voters to cast a ballot and to have that ballot counted,” U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. “The Justice Department will continue to use all the authorities at its disposal to protect this fundamental pillar of our society.”

Democrats just really don’t like voter id requirements. It’s as though they don’t value verification that the person is legally allowed to do so and is who they claim they are to election officials, or something. We know that Democrats would like for nationwide universal mail-in voting to be the way America votes, but Texas isn’t equipped to do that. Election laws are clear, and thanks to the reforms made in the last legislative session, uniform from county to county. The whole reason election law reform was needed was because of a rogue rookie county clerk who was in charge of election procedures in Harris County (Houston). The young lawyer, a Democrat, decided to make up new voting procedures as he saw fit, such as mailing ballots to every registered voter in the county,. That would have been over two million ballots. Texas has specific requirements for mail-in ballots, which must be requested by voters, not randomly mailed to voters. SB 1 requires signature verification on mail-in ballots, hardly an unreasonable requirement. DOJ objects, though.

One requires absentee voters to include a Department of Public Safety-issued driver license number or identification card number on their application to vote by mail and on the envelope used to send in their ballot. Those without either can use the last four digits of their Social Security numbers. The information must match what’s in the voter’s registration file.

The lawsuit contends the new requirement will “disenfranchise some eligible mail voters based on paperwork errors or omissions immaterial to their qualifications to vote.” In Texas, people who are disabled, sick, 65 or older, in jail or out of the county on election day can vote absentee.

Many posts were written here about the adventures of Texas Democrats who fled the state rather than do their jobs during the Texas Legislature’s general session, which caused two special sessions to be called by Governor Abbott. Election integrity reforms were inevitable. Abbott made it a priority on the agenda and Republicans control the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas State Senate. There was some support in the state senate from Democrats but nothing notable in the Texas House. The Democrats enjoyed a summer getaway to Washington, D.C. and garnered as much publicity as possible. Unfortunately for them, most of the publicity they created for themselves turned negative and people quickly saw through their marlarkey.

DOJ also objects to restrictions on what can and cannot be done by a person assisting a voter when they cast a vote.

The Department of Justice also challenges the law’s new limits on what kind of assistance voters can get if they need help casting a ballot. By prohibiting assistants from answering questions, responding to requests to clarify ballot translations and confirming that voters who can’t see have marked the ballot as intended, the lawsuit said, the new Texas law “further, and impermissibly, restricts the core right to meaningful assistance in the voting booth.”

The DOJ lawsuit didn’t even address two of the most controversial actions taken by the Harris County Clerk which were a part of the reason the Texas Legislature moved on election integrity reform – 24-hour and drive-through voting. The clerk justified going rogue with those allowances, never used in an election before 2020, because of the pandemic. SB 1 bans both 24-hour voting and drive-through voting, making election law uniform in all counties. Clearly, even Merrick Garland recognizes the right of Texas to do so.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton tweeted that he’ll see Biden in court.

And, Governor Abbott responded in a similar Let’s go, Brandon tweet.

This lawsuit comes on the heels of another effort from the DOJ to run interference with Texas state law. DOJ is suing Texas over its fetal heartbeat law, SB 8, now before the Supreme Court. In the case of SB 1, voting is made easier for Texas voters, not more difficult, as the governor’s tweet states. Democrats are trying desperately to federalize elections and Merrick Garland is happy to provide whatever assistance he can to their efforts. Garland is politicizing the Department of Justice. The eyes of Texas are upon him.

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