A federal judge has asked to block Texas law limiting mail-in ballot requests

The motion is the latest step in a federal lawsuit filed Dec. 10 by the Harris County election administrator and a volunteer assistant clerk from central Texas.

TEXAS, USA – The Harris County Elections Administrator and an Austin-area voter registrar have asked a federal judge to block a Texas law that prohibits election officials from sending ballot requests by post to registered voters who have not requested one.

The motion for the preliminary injunction was filed Tuesday by Isabel Longoria, Harris County’s election administrator, and Cathy Morgan, a volunteer assistant clerk in Travis and Williamson counties. In the petition, Longoria argues that the law violates his right to free speech and impairs his ability to encourage Harris County voters to vote.

According to KVUE media partners at the American-Statesman of Austin, the motion was the next step in a federal lawsuit filed by Longoria and Morgan on Dec. 10. It seeks to block a provision that carries a jail term of six months to two years and a fine of up to $10,000.

The ban on unsolicited mail-in ballot requests was part of Senate Bill 1, a sweeping ballot law passed by Texas lawmakers earlier this year.

Other provisions of SB 1 have been challenged in multiple lawsuits by civil rights groups and the US Department of Justice, including bans on 24-hour voting and driving. These challenges await a summer trial.

But Longoria and Morgan say waiting for the summer is not an option for a ban that will affect them in the weeks leading up to the March 1 primaries. Longoria and Morgan asked U.S. District Judge Fred Biery of San Antonio to rule by Feb. 14 because to vote by mail in the primaries, voters must complete and return an application between Jan. 1 and Feb. 18.

According to the statesman, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has yet to file a response to the lawsuit, although his office opposes the injunction request.

Read the motion in full here.

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