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Monday, March 14, 2016

Texas Civil Rights Project Sues State, Alleges It's Disenfranchising Eligible Voters

Posted By on Mon, Mar 14, 2016 at 4:14 PM


The Texas Civil Rights Project says eligible voters who updated voter registration while renewing driver's licenses online through the Department of Public Safety were turned away at the polls.

The organization sued the state in a San Antonio federal court Monday morning.

Here's the TCRP allegation in a nutshell: 

Under the National Voter Registration Act, eligible voters have a right to register to vote every time they update or renew their driver’s license with DPS. The Plaintiffs, all eligible voters, attempted to update their driver’s licenses and voter registration records through DPS’ website but the state disregarded their registration request. When the Plaintiffs tried to vote, they were not allowed to cast a regular ballot.
The TCRP says this is tantamount to a violation of the U.S. Constitution and federal law.

Totysa Watkins, an Irving health insurance rep., says in a press release that she felt like her voice was taken away when she was unable to vote.

“Voting has always been something I value and is a right I have instilled in my children," Watkins says. "Texas should not be able to take that away.”

According to TCRP, between September 2013 and May 2015, nearly 2,000 voters who updated their info online with DPS filed complaints after mistakenly believing that their voter registration was also updated.

Peter Kraus, a founding partner of Waters & Kraus, LLP, which is co-counsel on the case, says the National Voting Registration Act is abundantly clear.

“We are asking Texas to take simple, commonsense steps to modernize its voter registration procedures and comply with longstanding federal law,” Kraus says.

TCRP Executive Director Mimi Marziani says her organization will fight to ensure "historically disenfranchised" Texans aren't continually marginalized during the democratic process.

“Our clients updated their information with DPS and should have been placed on the rolls," Marziani says. "Texas cannot ignore voting rights because it deems them inconvenient.”

Read the lawsuit:

NVRA Complaint W.D. Tex. Case No. 16 Cv 00257

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