Joe Biden’s Department of Justice filed a lawsuit in federal court against the state of Texas on Thursday attacking the state’s new election security statute. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, alleging that the new law unconstitutionally restricts the ability of Texans to vote.
The complaint in the case attacks two specific provisions in the Texas law. It demands that the requirement for unique ID numbers on mail-in ballots and limitations on voter assistance inside a polling booth be invalidated.
The Justice Department alleges that the challenged provisions violate the federal Voting Rights Act by placing improper restrictions on voters. Specifically, the federal government says that the Texas law restricts the votes of people with limited English language proficiency, the elderly, and absentee voters, including deployed military personnel.
Ken Paxton, the Republican Attorney General of Texas, told the president on Twitter, “I will see you in court, Biden!”
The new Texas law has been the subject of national media attention, especially after several Democratic state legislators fled the state earlier this year to protest the new law and delay its enactment. The runaway legislators flew by private jet to Washington, D.C., to be entertained and housed by Democrats. At the same time, they temporarily denied the Texas legislature a legal quorum to vote on the election law.
After litigation in several courts and the threat of arrest by the legislature’s sergeant-at-arms, the runaways returned in September. The election measure was signed into law by Republican Governor Greg Abbott.
Republican members of the Texas legislature drafted the law to secure voting systems and promote confidence in the election process following the 2020 election. Last year’s presidential election included “temporary” COVID-related changes to mail-in, absentee, drive-through, and drop-box voting in several states. Many commenters and members of the public believe that the simple procedures led to insecurity and fraud.
When he signed the law, Abbott said that Texans agree that we “must have trust and confidence in our elections.” He added that the new law makes it much harder for fraudulent votes to be cast in the state.