Victory for Voter Registration in Texas
In a major victory for voting rights, today U.S. District Court Judge Gregg Costa ruled in favor of plaintiff Project Vote and its affiliate in Voting for America v Andrade and ordered the state of Texas to stop enforcing certain laws that restrict voter registration drives.
“This case is about making sure that voter registration drives, which are the foundation of our democracy, can operate without undue burdens,” says Michael Slater, executive director of Project Vote. “At this time when millions of eligible Texans are still not registered to vote, our focus should be to help them become voters. Instead, the Texas election code sets up a system that punishes voter registration drives for helping community members get access to voting.”
Plaintiffs argue that certain provisions of Texas election code violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and/or the National Voter Registration Act. Today the court agreed that the organizations are likely to succeed on the majority of their claims. (Learn more about the election code in question here.)
Criticizing the law’s chilling effect on voter registration, Costa writes, “The result is that Texas now imposes more burdensome regulations on those engaging in third-party voter registration than the vast majority of, if not all, other states.”
“Voter registration policies in Texas, over at least the past decade, created an environment hostile to voter registration,” says Slater. “Today’s ruling restores the rights of Texas citizens to participate in our democracy.”
The court declined to enjoin three out of the eight challenged provisions, but plaintiffs will have the opportunity to develop their case on these issues as the litigation moves forward. READ MORE