La Union Del Pueblo Entero v. Gregory W. Abbott

Last Update: February 28, 2024

What's at Stake

Texas has growing Hispanic and Black populations that helped propel record voter turnout in the November 2020 election. The Texas Legislature responded to this increased civic participation with an omnibus election bill titled Senate Bill 1—SB 1 for short—that targeted election practices that made voting more accessible to traditionally marginalized voters like voters of color, voters with disabilities, and voters with limited English proficiency. Since 2021, SB 1 has resulted in tens of thousands of lawful votes being rejected, and it remains a threat to democracy in Texas.

In September 2021, the ACLU, the ACLU of Texas, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Texas Civil Rights Project, and Jenner & Block LLP filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas to challenge SB 1 provisions for violating federal law on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Texas, the OCA-Greater Houston, and REVUP Texas.

The lawsuit alleges that SB 1 violates Section 101 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, by requiring voters to provide immaterial information—ID numbers not used to determine whether someone is an eligible voter—on their applications for ballot by mail or mail-in ballot. Applications and ballots without this immaterial information are rejected automatically under SB 1.

The lawsuit also alleges that SB 1 violates Section 208 of the Voting Rights Act by impairing voters who need assistance from being aided by the assistor of their choice. In addition, the lawsuit alleges that SB 1 violates the First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution because it restricts Plaintiffs’ right to free speech.

After rejecting Defendants’ motion to dismiss in August 2022, the district court agreed with Plaintiffs’ Civil Rights Act claim in August 2023. The district court granted Plaintiffs’ request for summary judgment, declaring Section 5.07 and Section 5.13 of SB 1 in violation of the Civil Rights Act. The state appealed the district court’s decision and asked the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to place a hold on it while the appeal is pending.

Plaintiffs proceeded to trial on their other claims in September 2023. Trial concluded in October 2023 and a decision is pending.

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