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During Tuesday's signing ceremony, Gov. Greg Abbott claimed Texas' restrictive new voting bill will make it harder to commit election fraud. He and other Republican leaders have repeatedly failed to provide proof such widespread fraud exists.
Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday signed into law a widely decried voting restriction bill that limits services such as 24-hour and drive-thru voting while granting more power to partisan poll watchers.
The Republican-backed law, which drew vigorous opposition from Democrats and voting-rights groups, now faces at least three separate challenges in federal court. Opponents argue the legislation is part of a GOP effort to stave off demographic changes shifting Texas from being a reliably red state.
On Tuesday, the League of United Latin American Citizens announced it had filed suit
in U.S. District Court in Austin to overturn the law. Two additional suits filed in federal courts in Austin
and San Antonio
challenged the legislation before Abbott even applied his signature.
"LULAC strongly opposes this attack on our voting rights and freedoms because they have one and only one purpose: to dilute our voice at the ballot box and continue to stop electoral change in Texas,” LULAC National President Domingo Garcia said in an emailed statement. “Texas voters deserve fair, open, and transparent elections, not a process rigged to deny our communities, whose numbers are growing, the right to vote."
In a bid to halt the bill, Texas Democrats broke quorum during a special session of the Texas Legislature. However, as those lawmakers trickled back to Austin, the GOP-controlled body ultimately succeeded in its passage.
During Tuesday's signing ceremony, Abbott doubled down on Republican claims the law is a bulwark against voter deceit. However, during debate, bill proponents repeatedly failed to show any proof of widespread election fraud in the state.
“One thing that all Texans can agree on, and that is that we must have trust and confidence in our elections," Abbott said during the event.
Texas' law follows the passage of similar Republican-backed measures in Georgia and Florida, all of which mirror former president Donald Trump's repeated lies about widespread fraud spoiling the election.
Charlie Bonner, communications manager of San Antonio-based voter-mobilization group MOVE Texas, said vocal opposition to Texas' bill helped kill off its most toxic language. Among the provisions cut from the legislation was one that would have made it easier to overturn elections and another closing polls on Sunday mornings — a time when many Black churches sponsor voting drives.
Even so, Bonner said the signing of the restrictive new law shows the need for the U.S. Senate to pass its own version of the recent voting-rights legislation passed by the House of Representatives.
"I hope if anything comes out of this it's that people recognize how voter suppression has changed," he said. "It's not poll taxes, dogs and firehoses, but it's no less dangerous, and it's still going on today."
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