The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday announced it was suing Texas over a controversial voting bill that Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed into a law in September.

The law prohibits election officials from sending unsolicited applications for a mail-in ballots on the risk of imprisonment and rolls back voter accommodations that were put into place due to the pandemic.

Republicans have upheld the legislation as being designed to ensure election integrity, while critics have slammed it as an attempt to suppress Democratic votes.

The DOJ is alleging that the Texas bill violates the Voting Rights Act by limiting what sort of assistance can be provided to voters who are disabled or unable to read. The suit also argues that the bill is in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 since it allows mail-in ballots and ballot request forms to be rejected for errors in paperwork that is not necessary to prove voter eligibility.

“Our democracy depends on the right of eligible voters to cast a ballot and to have that ballot counted,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said. “The Justice Department will continue to use all the authorities at its disposal to protect this fundamental pillar of our society.”

In a statement, NAACP President Derrick Johnson praised the DOJ's move saying, “Finally, a justice department that fights for justice. Texas is torpedoing American democracy and our constitutional right to vote. We are encouraged to see the DOJ pushing back.”

This is the second lawsuit the Biden administration has filed against a state government over election laws enacted after the 2020 election, in response to false claims by former President Trump that he lost due to fraud. 

In June, the DOJ announced it was suing Georgia over its more restrictive voting laws.

“Our complaint alleges that recent changes to Georgia's election laws were enacted with the purpose of denying or abridging the right of Black Georgians to vote on account of their race or color, in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act," Garland said at the time.

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