Nov 4 (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Texas on Thursday over a state law that places strict curbs on voting by mail, in the latest effort by the Biden administration to combat new voting restrictions being enacted in Republican-controlled states across the nation.
The department’s lawsuit takes aim at Texas Senate Bill 1, which was signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott in September, saying it violates voters’ rights.
The Texas law makes it tougher to cast ballots through the mail by preventing officials from sending unsolicited mail-in ballot applications.
It also adds new identification requirements for mail-in voting, prohibits drive-through and 24-hour voting locations, limits early voting, and restricts who can help voters requiring assistance because of disabilities or language barriers.
The Justice Department complaint alleges that the Texas law improperly restricts disabled voters or voters who cannot read or write from being able to receive adequate assistance at voting locations.
“The challenged provisions will disenfranchise eligible Texas citizens who seek to exercise their right to vote, including voters with limited English proficiency, voters with disabilities, elderly voters, members of the military deployed away from home, and American citizens residing outside of the country,” the complaint says.
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch and Jan Wolfe in Washington; additional reporting by Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru; Editing by Aurora Ellis)