Congressional Voting Rights Forum Held in Texas
Today in Houston, Congressional Representatives Charles Gonzalez, Al Green, and Sheila Jackson Lee are holding a forum on voting rights. The focus of the hearing is recent attacks on voting. Project Vote has submitted testimony on Texas’s election code and the state’s suppression of voter registration drives.
Earlier this year, Project Vote and its affiliate Voting for America filed a suit against Texas for violating the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) and the U.S. Constitution. The case argues that Texas election code impedes the efforts of community-based voter registration drives to assist community members to register to vote and blocks access to the voter rolls to ensure that those citizens have been added to the rolls.
“Voter registration policies in Texas have created an environment that is hostile to voter registration,” says Michael Slater, executive director of Project Vote. “The lawsuit seeks to redress some of these policies, which violate state and federal law, and endanger the rights of Texas citizens to participate in our democracy.”
Millions of Americans—particularly low-income and minority citizens—rely on community- based voter registration drives in order to participate in the democratic process. The current Texas election code severely hinders the ability of organizations to conduct such drives by imposing a variety of burdensome restrictions related to public access to records, qualifications and compensation for employees of registration drives, and the review and delivery of voter registration forms. The Texas election code includes harsh criminal penalties and vague but burdensome requirements that make it nearly impossible for voter registration organizations to work in the state. This will have a chilling effect on the ability of new voters, particularly low- income, minority, and youth voters, to become registered this year.
Project Vote is seeking to reverse some of these policies, which are hostile to voter registration and therefore harmful to the democratic process and which impair the rights of Texas citizens to participate in our democracy.