|Texas Public Assistance Agencies Failing to Offer Voter Registration|
Project Vote and our partners have been working for several years to ensure that public assistance agencies around the country are providing voter registration services as required by the National Voter Registration Act. We’ve had tremendous success with lawsuits in Missouri and Ohio, we’re nearing settlement on suits in New Mexico and Indiana, and we’ve worked with Washington and New Jersey to help turn their programs around without resorting to litigation.
This week, we’re pleased to announce that we’re now bringing these proven strategies to bear on the second most populous state in the union: Texas.
On February 9, attorneys from Project Vote and Demos sent a notice letter to Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade on behalf of the Texas State Conference of the NAACP, notifying her of statewide violations of the NVRA. According to their own website, the state’s Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) serves over 1.5 million adult recipients every month through SNAP (the food stamps program), which is just one of the programs covered under the NVRA. Yet, in recent years, HHSC has collected fewer than 4,000 voter registration applications per year. Project Vote's investigations of HHSC agencies found that many offices had no voter registration forms available, and HHSC staff members were often totally unaware of their responsibilities under the NVRA.
While we remain hopeful that Texas will work with us voluntarily to develop a plan to achieve compliance (as other states such as Washington and New Jersey have done), the notice letter is a required first step towards bringing litigation. Either way, Project Vote and our partners will work to achieve compliance in the state, and ensure that hundreds of thousands of low-income Texans are not denied the opportunity to register to vote.
Learn more about the Public Agency Registration Project here.
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