Today, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed voter suppression bill, S.B. 1, into law. The bill passed the Texas House and Senate during a second special legislative session called by the Governor after the regular session ended earlier this year. Among the measures that will impact voters of color, S.B. 1 reduces early voting hours and eliminates 24-hour voting, eliminates drive-thru voting centers, prohibits mail-in ballot drop-boxes, and places new restrictions on the distribution of mail-in ballots and mail-in ballot applications.
Lisa Cylar Barrett, Director of Policy, at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), issued the following statement regarding the new law:
“Passage of S.B. 1 by the Texas legislature, and its signing into law by Governor Abbott, is a clear attack on our democracy and the rights of Black and Brown voters – who turned out in record numbers across Texas during the 2020 election season – to cast a ballot and have it counted.
“Texas has a long history of voter discrimination and S.B. 1 is the latest chapter in this shameful legacy. The voting methods impacted by S.B. 1 – including ‘drive-thru’ voting and 24-hour early voting – were invaluable for Black and Brown voters who were faced with the daunting task of voting during a global pandemic that disproportionately affected their communities.
“Texas now joins Georgia, Florida, and at least 16 other states that have passed voter suppression laws this year in direct response to voters of color using their power at the polls to demand change and accountability. This state-by-state effort to suppress the right to vote – aided by the Supreme Court’s decisions in Shelby County v. Holder and Brnovich v. DNC, which severely weakened the protections in the Voting Rights Act (VRA) – requires a federal response, just as it did when the VRA was passed in 1965.
“Congress must act. Time is of the essence. We demand that the United States Senate immediately pass both the For the People Act (H.R. 1) and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (H.R. 4) to turn the tide of voter suppression currently sweeping the nation.”
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Follow LDF on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.