Following the 2020 Presidential election dozens of states began passing bills with provisions that restricted voting rights. Texas was one of those states. The voter suppression legislation known as SB1 imposes new ID requirements on elderly and disabled mail voters, prevents election officials from reigning in unruly partisan poll watchers, limits community-based voter outreach, and makes it more difficult for voters to use the assister of their choice.
May 30-31, 2021: The Texas Senate passes SB7, an “election protection” bill, following an overnight debate as it rushes to meet the June 1 legislative deadline. Texas House Democrats leave the house chamber before a vote can be taken, effectively killing the bill. Gov. Greg Abbott says he will convene a special session of the legislature.
July 12, 2021: The first special session of the state legislature convened largely for the purpose of passing SB7, ends without passage of the bill after House Democrats fly to Washington, D.C. and deny Republicans the required quorum to take a vote.
August 7, 2021: The Texas Legislature reconvenes in a second special session in an effort to pass what is now called SB1.
August 31, 2021: The Texas Legislature passes SB1 after some Democrats return to Austin. Governor Abbott signs SB1 on September 7, 2021.
September 3, 2021: MALDEF and the Brennan Center for Justice file La Union Del Pueblo Entero v. Abbott, a federal lawsuit challenging Texas’ SB1, as unconstitutional and in violation of federal voting rights law.
March 1, 2022: In the Texas partisan primary elections, Texas Counties reject more than 12 percent of mail ballots.
May 13, 2022: Republican political committees intervene in the case to defend SB1 including the Harris County and Dallas County Republican Parties.
June 6, 2022: A federal judge in a separate case against Texas regarding voter assistance strikes down several provisions of SB1 as violating the assistance provisions of the federal Voting Rights Act. OCA Greater Houston v. State of Texas.
November 7, 2022: In a lawsuit brought on behalf of Black voters in Beaumont, Texas, a federal judge orders poll watchers to refrain from standing near voters and watching voters mark their ballots and from ordering voters to publicly recite their addresses before allowing them to vote. Beaumont Chapter of the NAACP, et al. v. Jefferson County, Texas, et al.
January 25, 2022: MALDEF files a second amended complaint adding several Texas county district attorneys as defendants.