The legal fight over whether Texas is disenfranchising thousands of voters by violating a federal voter registration law is on its way to federal appeals court. Just after a federal judge gave Texas less than two months to implement a limited version of online voter registration, the state on Monday formally notified U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia that it was appealing his finding that Texas was violating the law — also known as the “Motor Voter Act” — by failing to allow drivers to register to vote when they renew their driver’s licenses online. Pointing to registration deadlines for the November election, Garcia created a 45-day deadline for the state to create the online system for drivers in order to comply with the federal law that requires states to allow people to register to vote while getting their drivers licenses.
Garcia’s orders were made public Monday. They followed the state’s reluctance to revise its current system, which allows people to register in person at Department of Public Safety offices, but not when they renew their licenses online.
Texans updating their licenses on the DPS website are instead directed to a registration form on the secretary of state’s website that they must print out and send to their county registrar.
Asked to propose a fix by last Thursday, the Texas Attorney General’s Office, which is representing the state in court, offered no specific solution of its ownand instead disputed the judge’s ruling.