Victory for Voto Latino and Texas Voters: Court Blocks Texas From Enforcing Discriminatory Voter Suppression Law SB 1111
Today, Voto Latino, the nation’s premier Latino voter registration organization, and Texas State LULAC scored a major victory for Texas voters when a federal court blocked the state from enforcing SB 1111, a law that imposed unconstitutionally burdensome and discriminatory residency requirements on voters seeking to make their voices heard at the ballot box.
In a decision authored by U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel, the court acknowledged that the plaintiffs had suffered “direct harm” to their “First Amendment right to advise voters without threat of prosecution.”
Judge Yeakel found that SB 1111 also failed to overcome the burden of constitutional scrutiny, singling out its residence provision as “unconstitutionally vague and overbroad.”
In response to the news, Voto Latino president and CEO María Teresa Kumar issued the following statement:
“We’re thrilled that the court has acknowledged what we’ve known from the beginning: that SB 1111 is unconstitutional and needs to be struck down,” said María Teresa Kumar, president and CEO of Voto Latino. “The true intent of this discriminatory measure has always been about suppressing voter turnout — especially among young people, communities of color, low-income voters, and other historically marginalized groups.
Gratified as we are by this decision, it’s essential to remember that SB 1111 is just one part of a right-wing war on voting rights in Texas and nationwide. We will continue our fight to ensure every voter in Texas and across the country is empowered to exercise their constitutionally guaranteed right to cast their ballots and participate in our democracy.”
SB 1111 sought to prohibit voters from establishing residency at any place they have not inhabited, or at a previous residence, unless the voter inhabits the home at the time of designation and intends to remain.
It required registrants to prove their residency whenever county officials suspect that the voter’s current address is different from the address in the registration records, and accepted only a handful of documents as sufficient proof, prohibiting voters, with few exceptions, from using a post office box address as confirmation of their residence. The measure, signed into law by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, principally stymied college students from registering to vote.
Texas expects 300,000 additional Latinos to come of voting age by the midterms since the 2020 presidential election. Gov. Abbott is on the ballot in November.
Voto Latino and Texas State LULAC filed their lawsuit challenging SB 1111 in June of last year.
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Voto Latino is a grassroots political organization focused on educating and empowering a new generation of Latinx voters, as well as creating a more robust and inclusive democracy. Through innovative digital campaigns, culturally relevant programs and authentic voices, we shepherd the Latinx community towards the full realization of its political power.