Judge Orders More Data on Potential Voter Registration Fixes in Texas

February 13, 2020by Chuck Lindell, Austin American-Statesman (TNS)
Fog enshrouds Texas Capitol dome on Jan. 8, 2019, opening day of the 86th Texas Legislature. (Ken Herman/Austin American-Statesman/TNS)

AUSTIN, Texas — Saying he wants a firm grasp of how long it will take Texas to comply with federal voter registration mandates, a U.S. judge on Monday ordered opposing sides to meet with technology specialists by the end of the week.

U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia said state officials had previously estimated that it would take 90 days to let Texans register to vote at the same time they go online to renew a driver’s license.

The judge has ruled that simultaneous registration is required by the “motor voter” provision of the 1993 National Voter Registration Act.

At a recent hearing, however, a lawyer for Texas said it could take a year or longer to meet an “interim step” requested by civil rights lawyers — requiring Texas to mail a preprinted voter registration form that includes the name, address and other driver’s license data so voters could sign and mail it in.

Such a step would comply with a state law requiring a valid signature on every voter form while a longer-term solution is found that would allow for simultaneous registration, lawyers with the Texas Civil Rights Project said.

Garcia ordered lawyers for both sides to file sworn declarations by the end of Monday on the feasibility of proposed fixes and how long they would take to accomplish.

“It is difficult to believe that full compliance with the NYRA could be accomplished in 90 days, yet this interim measure would take months, a year, or more,” Garcia wrote.

The judge also ordered state officials to begin tracking how many people click a voter registration link while renewing their driver’s license on the Department of Public Safety website.

“Defendants’ decision not to track, record, or preserve such information at this juncture, after four years of litigation, is concerning,” he wrote.

In Texas, those who renew a driver’s license online must click a separate link to download a voter registration form to print out, fill in and mail to county voting officials.

A lawsuit filed on behalf of three Texans argues that the motor voter law requires the state to let voters update their registration address — or register to vote for the first time — while they renew a driver’s license online.

Last week, Garcia gave state officials until Monday — the deadline to register to vote for the March 3 primaries — to ensure that the three plaintiffs are registered to vote using information they supplied to DPS.

On Monday, state officials informed Garcia that they had complied with that order.

———

©2020 Austin American-Statesman, Texas

Visit Austin American-Statesman, Texas at www.statesman.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

State News

New Jersey Declared White Supremacists a Major Threat. Here’s Why That’s Groundbreaking
State News
New Jersey Declared White Supremacists a Major Threat. Here’s Why That’s Groundbreaking

PHILADELPHIA — New Jersey says white supremacist extremism is one of the state’s greatest terrorism threats — higher than al-Qaida and the Islamic State — and in doing so has positioned itself as a national leader in countering domestic terrorism inspired by racism, experts say. Last... Read More

Jim Clyburn, 'Kingmaker of South Carolina Politics,' Endorses Biden Ahead of Primary
2020 Elections
Jim Clyburn, 'Kingmaker of South Carolina Politics,' Endorses Biden Ahead of Primary
February 26, 2020
by Dan McCue

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, widely considered to be the political kingmaker in South Carolina, endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden Wednesday, just three days ahead of the nation's First in the South primary. The endorsement was announced minutes after the two men shared the stage... Read More

Could the S.C. Primary Be A Harbinger of a Very Bad Year for Lindsey Graham?
Political News
Could the S.C. Primary Be A Harbinger of a Very Bad Year for Lindsey Graham?
February 25, 2020
by Dan McCue

It is the kind of assertion that brings a reporter up short, temporarily. To hear it twice, in two completely separate conversations, was astounding. It was the idea that as result of changing demographics and highly successful voter registration drives across the state, Sen. Lindsey Graham,... Read More

llinois’ Recreational Marijuana Sales Brought $10 Million in Tax Revenue in January
State News
llinois’ Recreational Marijuana Sales Brought $10 Million in Tax Revenue in January

CHICAGO — Recreational marijuana sales in Illinois generated more than $10 million in tax revenue in January, according to the Illinois Department of Revenue. The state collects sales tax and a cannabis excise tax on recreational marijuana sales. January sales generated more than $7.3 million in... Read More

Governors Oppose Billion-Dollar Cuts to National Guard Funding
Federal Budget
Governors Oppose Billion-Dollar Cuts to National Guard Funding
February 24, 2020
by Dan McCue

The National Governors Association is joining with the National Guard Association of the United States to oppose the Department of Defense’s planned reprogramming, which would cut nearly $1.7 billion from the National Guard and Reserve. At the request of the nation’s governors, Congress, on a bipartisan... Read More

RNC, Michigan GOP File Motion to Intervene in Battleground Voting Rights Case
Elections
RNC, Michigan GOP File Motion to Intervene in Battleground Voting Rights Case
February 24, 2020
by Dan McCue

The Republican National Committee and Michigan Republican Party last week filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit over the right of organizers to participate in elections. The underlying lawsuit was filed by Priorities USA, a Democratic super PAC, in November. It challenges Michigan state laws... Read More

Straight From The Well
scroll top