A federal judge is expected to rule by early next week whether Texas can resume enforcing what some call the most strict, burdensome and punitive body of voter registration law in the nation. The uncertainty arises after lawyers from the Texas Attorney General’s Office, who are representing Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade, on Wednesday asked U.S. District Court Judge Gregg Costa to suspend a temporary injunction against enforcing several provisions of the state election code governing voter registration drives. If Costa grants the stay, the state can resume enforcing the law while it appeals the injunction to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court.
Costa, who presides over the Galveston Division of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, granted the injunction Aug. 2 after two days of testimony in June. At that June 12-13 hearing, county residents and a voting rights group argued the election code made large-scale voter registration drives practically impossible and has made even some longtime community volunteers reluctant to collect applications for fear of being prosecuted for minor lapses or errors.
In February, the national group Project Vote and residents Brad Richey and Penelope McFadden sued Andrade and Galveston County Voter Registrar Cheryl Johnson, seeking an injunction to prevent the laws from being enforced. At issue are statutes and provisions addressing who can collect voter registration cards and how and when they must be turned in; forbidding groups, such as Project Vote, from firing canvassers for failing to collect enough applications; and forbidding out-of-state workers from handling applications at all, among other things.
Full Article: Ruling on voter law expected next week.