In a lawsuit filed this week in a San Antonio federal court, the Texas Civil Rights Project challenged voter registration procedures at the Texas Department of Public Safety.
As the complaint explains, Texas is violating the U.S. Constitution and federal law by refusing to register eligible voters who submit changes through the DPS website.
TCRP and its co-counsel Waters & Kraus, LLP represent several Texas voters who have been disenfranchised by the state’s unlawful practices.
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 they tried to vote, they were not allowed to cast a regular ballot.
“I felt that my voice was taken away from me when my vote wasn’t counted,” said Totysa Watkins, an Irving health insurance representative and mother of two. “Voting has always been something I value and is a right I have instilled in my children. Texas should not be able to take that away.”
Between September 2013 and May 2015, the state recorded complaints from nearly 2,000 voters who completed an online transaction with DPS and mistakenly believed their registration records were updated, too.
These voters represent a mere fraction of the total number of Texas voters injured as a result of the state’s policies. Indeed, TCRP received numerous reports of additional voters who were disenfranchised in Texas’ primary election due to voter registration problems at DPS. Until Texas reforms its registration practices, countless voters will be excluded from the democratic process every election.