The US District Court in San Antonio heard closing arguments this week in our lawsuit against Texas to challenge key provisions of SB 1, one of the harshest and most sweeping pieces of voter suppression legislation in decades. During the trial, we heard testimony from voters who struggled to vote due to the barriers imposed by SB 1, organizers unable to provide assistance to voters who require physical or language assistance in order to vote for fear of criminal charges, and voting rights groups whose voter education programs are jeopardized by the law’s statutes. 

SB 1 disenfranchises voters in violation of the First, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. If allowed to stand, it will unconstitutionally burden qualified voters and prevent many voters from lawfully casting their ballots in 2024 and beyond.

Among the most critical findings of this case, we have established that SB 1: 

  • violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments by imposing an undue burden on the right to vote.
  • disproportionately burdens Black and Latine voters, who vote by mail at a higher rate than other racial groups, due to a convoluted and error-riddled ID number requirement that leaves no opportunity for corrections. The statute’s ban on drive-thru voting (DTV) and 24-hour voting also places a greater burden on Black and Latine voters, who are more likely than white voters to use these methods. These provisions constitute racial discrimination prohibited under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
  • creates avenues for poll watchers to engage in illegal voter intimidation by providing them free movement at polling sites, limiting election workers’ ability to protect voters from poll watcher interference, and making election workers liable to criminal penalties and civil suits for attempting to intervene on behalf of voters. The state’s history of intimidation and harassment of minority voters by poll watchers makes this provision that much more perilous for voters and election workers.

Voters in Texas and across the country face too many barriers to the right to vote. Winning this case will help protect Texas voters from the burdens imposed by SB 1. But our work does not stop here. We want to ensure that every American can freely and fairly exercise their constitutional right to vote. We will not rest until that promise is fulfilled.

Learn more here.