Non-profit group, Voting for America, has filed suit in federal district court in Houston alleging that various Texas laws and practices relating to voter registration violate the National Voter Registration Act as well as the U.S. constitution.
In a press statement, Voting for America executive director, Michael Slater, said:
“Texas rules have created a voter registration system characterized by criminal penalties and vague and unduly burdensome requirements that subvert major tenets of the NVRA and violate the Constitution. Current Texas law would make it nearly impossible for voter registration organizations to conduct their work in the state.”
Among the provisions of the Texas Election Code that the complaint says are at odds with the National Voter Registration Act are:
- § 12.006(e) - which prohibits non-Texas residents from registering voters,
- § 13.008 - which governs and limits compensation for workers doing voter registration,
- § 13.038 - which limits deputy registrars to registering voters who reside in the county where they were deputized, and
- § 13.042 - which requires that completed applications be returned in person by a deputy registrar within five days of their completion.
The suit also alleges that election officials in Harris County are improperly refusing to make available for inspection records of rejected voter registration applications in contravention of NVRA’s express public inspection requirements.
In a separate claim, the suit says that election administrators in Galveston County illegally enforced Texas’ voter ID law (SB 14) during the November 2011 election despite the fact that the law had yet to be precleared under section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The suit additionally accuses Galveston County officials of not following state law when placing voters on suspense rolls.
The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt.
A copy of the complaint (with exhibits) can be found here.