LULAC Files Federal Lawsuit In Texas In Voter Suppression Battle
Nation’s Largest and Oldest Civil Rights Organization Charges Violations of 1st, 14th and 26th Amendments of U.S. Constitution
Washington, DC - The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) today filed a sweeping lawsuit, along with Voto Latino, in the United States Federal District Court, Western District of Texas in Austin. The legal action is against election officials in multiple counties on charges of violating the civil rights of Latino voters under 42 U.S.C., 1983 and 1988 to redress the deprivation, under color of state law, of rights secured by the U.S. Constitution.
The lawsuit states, in part: “During the 2021 legislative session—mere months after Texas officials sought to overturn the presidential election results and disenfranchise millions of voters in other states following the defeat of former president Donald Trump, and on the heels of what the State’s elections administrators described as a safe and secure election—the Texas Legislature introduced no fewer than 50 bills to restrict access to voting in all forms.”
“Among the bills passed by one or both chambers of the Legislature during this past session were measures to restrict access to early and absentee voting, empower partisan poll watchers to harass and intimidate voters, and make it easier to overturn election results,” says Luis Roberto Vera, Jr., LULAC National Legal Counsel. “Other actions were taken to restrict the ability of local election officials to exercise their discretion and expand access to the franchise, impose additional requirements on Texans who vote absentee due to disabilities, and permit election judges to carry firearms inside polling places,” adds Vera.
“This lawsuit challenges one of those bills, Senate Bill 1111 (“SB 1111”),” says Rodolfo Rosales, Jr., Texas LULAC State Director. “This measure imposes vague, onerous restrictions on the voter registration process, chilling political participation and further burdening the abilities of lawful voters to cast their ballots and make their voices heard. LULAC will not allow these barriers to be erected or allow them to stand unchallenged,” adds Rosales.
The lawsuit names as defendants, tax assessor and elections officials in Bexar, Harris, El Paso, Hidalgo, Travis and Dallas Counties. “Our legal action further states that among other things, SB 1111 interferes with the basic freedom of political expression by prohibiting Texas voters from establishing residence for the purpose of influencing elections,” says Linda Chavez, LULAC National Board Member and Vice-President for the Southwest. “Also, it restricts registration opportunities for Texans who have temporarily relocated by prohibiting voters from designating previous residences as their fixed places of habitation even if they consider those residences to be their homes; and it burdens voters who rely on post offices boxes for their residences by conditioning their registration on the production of additional documentation,” she adds.
LULAC’s lawsuit asks the federal court to declare that SB 1111 violates the First, Fourteenth, and Twenty-Sixth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Also, to preliminarily and permanently enjoining Defendants, their respective agents, officers, employees, and successors, and all persons acting in concert with each or any of them, from implementing, enforcing, or giving any effect to SB 1111.
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest Hispanic civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1,000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services, and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting the critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit https://lulac.org/