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In a ruling last week hailed by voting rights advocates, US District Judge Gregg Costa temporarily enjoined Texas Election Code provisions restricting voter registration, including those implemented by HB 2194, which has ALEC ties in author Larry Taylor and sponsor Mike Jackson.
Citing the Federalist Papers, Judge Costa wrote:
Broad-based participation in the political process is crucial to governmental legitimacy and the proper functioning of our constitutional system. […] Voter registration drives have played a vital role in increasing participation in the political process. […] Texas now imposes more burdensome regulations on those engaging in third-party voter registration than the vast majority of, if not all, other states. […] History demonstrates the importance of allowing Americans the freedom to promote voter registration throughout the nation.
This case is about making sure that voter registration drives, which are the foundation of our democracy, can operate without undue burdens. At this time when millions of eligible Texans are still not registered to vote, our focus should be to help them become voters. Instead, the Texas election code sets up a system that punishes voter registration drives for helping community members get access to voting.
A full trial will determine whether the provisions in question violate the National Voter Registration Act, and Attorney General Greg Abbott has appealed Costa’s injunction. Texas also remains entangled in a heated voter ID fight.
In the meantime, click here for more information, and be sure to check out The Right to Vote under Attack: The Campaign to Keep Millions of Americans from the Ballot Box a Right Wing Watch: In Focus report by PFAW Foundation.