January 30, 2020/Blog, Media

Texas Democrats on Holding the Texas Department of Public Safety Accountable for Failing to Comply with the National Voter Registration Act

Today, the Texas Democratic Party, the Texas Civil Rights Project, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, was awarded an injunction in our lawsuit forcing the Texas Department of Public Safety to abandon its discriminatory voter registration policies. 

The Texas Department of Public Safety failed to properly register certain named voters who fell into the trap set by the state’s discriminatory policy of not allowing Texans who update their Driver’s Licenses online to automatically update their voter registration. 

“Today’s ruling is a victory for Texans everywhere. The Texas Democratic Party refused to stand by as Republican leaders continued to disenfranchise voters. That’s why the Texas Democratic Party, Texas Civil Rights Project, DSCC, and DCCC filed this lawsuit forcing the Texas DPS to comply with the National Voter Registration Act — and won,” Gilberto Hinojosa, Chair of the Texas Democratic Party, said after the injunction was announced.

In 1993, Congress enacted the National Voter Registration Act in order to expand voting opportunities for every American. Section 5 of the Act explicitly specifies that states are required to provide individuals with an opportunity to register to vote while they are applying for or renewing their driver’s licenses. The Department of Public Safety has violated this provision. 

This is a continuation of a years-long Republican effort to intimidate, disrupt and suppress voter registration and turnout. By not complying with the National Voter Registration Act, the Department of Public Safety has actively diluted the voting power of Texas voters. However, Texas Democrats, alongside our state and national partners, refused to allow the statewide agency to exacerbate the effects of undemocratic Republican efforts. Our elected officials should be encouraging citizens to participate in our democracy, not trying to exclude voters who disagree with them. 

Texas Democrats will never stop fighting to expand access to the ballot box. In addition to our expansive vote-by-mail program, the Texas Democratic Party has launched the biggest voter expansion program in our state’s history. We’re improving voter registration for Texas voters, and closing loopholes in the system that have historically resulted in Democratic ballots not being cast or counted. In order to register an electorate that accurately represents the population of Texas, Texas Democrats are spearheading a statewide voter protection initiative to protect Texans from predatory voter suppression efforts.

“Our voting rights are under attack. Texas Republicans have tried to game the system and erect barriers for eligible voters. From failing to register Texas voters online to aiding Republicans’ illegal voter purge, Texas DPS has been central to Republicans schemes to make voting harder,” Hinojosa continued.

Texas Democrats celebrate this legal victory today, however, we do so by continuing our work for the people of Texas. The American people shape our country at the ballot box. This freedom is integral to who we are. Anytime Republicans attempt to erect voting barriers, we will do everything in our power to tear those obstacles down.