Texas Governor Greg Abbott is at the center of the two most controversial legislative battles in the country. Last week, Abbott made headlines when he signed S.B. 8, a bill that criminalizes abortion after six weeks. This week, Abbott has garnered criticism for signing S.B. 1, a bill that bans drive-through voting, eliminates 24-hour voting and prevents election officials from sending unsolicited mail-in ballots.
“One thing that all Texans can agree [on] and that is that we must have trust and confidence in our elections. The bill that I’m about to sign helps to achieve that goal,” Abbott said after signing the bill, according to the Texas Tribune.
“The law does, however, make it harder for fraudulent votes to be cast.”
However, many people around the state feel that it won't make it harder for fraudulent votes to be cast. Instead, there are detractors who argue that the bill will make it harder for people of color to vote. As a result, the NAACP, LULAC and the ACLU have filed lawsuits challenging S.B. 1
"Black votes were suppressed today. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has intentionally signed away democracy for so many. We are disgusted. This voter suppression bill is undemocratic, unamerican and even violates core conservative principles," NAACP President Derrick Johnson said in a statement obtained by journalist Eva McKend.
“Despite Texas legislators’ repeated and disingenuous attempts to cite ‘voter fraud’ as their reasoning for implementing S.B. 1, it is clear as day that this law was created to suppress votes. Rather than expand voting access, elected officials are making it harder for Texans to vote – especially voters of color, who will be disproportionately burdened. S.B. 1 was intentionally designed to have that effect," NAACP Legal Defense Fund Assistant Counsel Georgina Yeomans added in a separate statement.
In addition to filing lawsuits, a number of voting rights groups have pushed for Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the For The People Act. While these acts have garnered support from many Democrats, Republicans and more moderate Democrats have raised issues with both pieces of legislation. With an infrastructure battle on the horizon, it seems unlikely that either bill will be passed in the coming weeks.