Texas

Articles about voting issues in Texas.

Texas: Woman Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison for Voter Fraud Loses Bid for New Trial | The New York Times

A judge who sentenced a Texas woman to five years in prison for voting illegally because she was a felon turned down on Monday the woman’s bid for a new trial. “Prison is a lot closer for her today,” Alison Grinter, a lawyer for the woman, Crystal Mason, 43, said on Tuesday, noting that her client would appeal the decision to a higher court. Sharen Wilson, the Tarrant County district attorney, declined to comment. Ms. Mason was convicted of illegal voting in a one-day trial held March 28 before Judge Ruben Gonzalez, a state district court judge who sentenced her that day to five years in prison. She has been free on bond pending appeal. Read More

Texas: 5th Circuit temporarily blocks online voter registration for Texas drivers | The Texas Tribune

Texas will not be required to meet a 45-day deadline to implement online voter registration for drivers — for now. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday temporarily blocked a lower court ruling that mandated a voter registration system that would allow drivers to register to vote when they renew their driver’s licenses online. The requirement was part of U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia’s ruling that Texas was violating a federal voter registration law — also known as the “Motor Voter Act” — that’s meant to ease the voter registration process. Read More

Texas: State appeals after a judge orders the state to implement online voter registration for drivers | The Texas Tribune

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. Read More

Texas: State lawyers object to proposed motor-voter solutions | Austin American-Statesman

After losing a legal fight over the way Texas handles online voter registration, state lawyers are arguing that fixes proposed by a civil rights group go too far and should be rejected. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia of San Antonio had given both sides until Thursday to submit plans that will let Texans easily register to vote when they obtain or renew a driver’s license on the Department of Public Safety website. The current system violates the National Voter Registration Act’s motor-voter provision, Garcia ruled, because online users are directed to a separate page run by the Texas secretary of state, where they must download a voter registration form, print it out and mail it to their county registrar. Read More

Texas: Asked to propose a fix to voting rights violation, Texas offers few answers | The Texas Tribune

Told it was breaking the law and asked to propose a fix, Texas seems to have mostly declined in a new filing the state’s legal adversaries have called “bad faith foot-dragging.” Following a ruling last month that Texas was violating a federal law designed to ease the voter registration process, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia orderedboth the state and the voting rights advocacy group that sued Texas to submit detailed plans for fixing the violation. The Texas Civil Rights Project submitted its plan Thursday afternoon. About three hours later, Texas responded with a document criticizing that group’s proposal as overly broad and once again disputing the judge’s ruling. It did not present a clear, specific solution of its own. Read More

Texas: How a federal lawsuit could open the door to online voter registration in Texas | The Texas Tribune

From Jacquelyn Callanen’s perch in the Bexar County elections office, the period following Texas’ voter registration deadlines is best described as a paper tsunami. Some of it arrives by mail. Some stacks are delivered by volunteer voter registrars. The secretary of state’s office sends over a handful of boxes filled to the brim. No matter the carrier, last-minute drives to register people by the 30-day deadline ahead of each election typically leave local elections offices with a surge of work. To make sure prospective voters make it onto the rolls in time for Election Day, county offices have to hire temporary workers to help thumb through and process tens of thousands of voter registration cards and applications. “We hope and pray that all the cards are filled out completely,” Callanen said. Read More

Texas: Many Electronic Voting Machines Are Insecure. One Texas County Is Trying To Fix That | NPR

Election administrators in Austin, Texas, are trying to put an electronic voting system in place before the 2020 presidential election that is more secure than anything else in the market right now. There are widespread concerns that many of these voting machines are vulnerable to hacking due to aging equipment and design flaws. Following reports of Russian interference in the 2016 election, lawmakers say local governments need to start switching to more secure technology. Read More

Texas: Saying the state is violating a voter registration law, federal judge gives Texas until Thursday to propose a fix | The Texas Tribune

Texas has less than a week to tell a federal judge in San Antonio how it will begin complying with the National Voter Registration Act, a decades-old federal law aimed at making it easier for people to register to vote by forcing states to allow registration while drivers apply for or renew their driver’s licenses. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia ruled more than a month ago that Texas was violating the law, sometimes called the Motor Voter Act, by not allowing Texas drivers to register to vote when they update their driver’s license information online. But it wasn’t clear until this week what exactly state officials would have to do to address that — and by when they’d have to do it. Now, Texas and the Texas Civil Rights Project — which sued the state over the issue in 2016, saying Texas’ current system disenfranchised thousands of voters and violated the U.S. Constitution — have until Thursday to propose a detailed fix for the system. After that, Garcia will weigh the proposals and order a remedy. Read More

Texas: Federal appellate court upholds embattled voter ID law | The Texas Tribune

Amid efforts to prove Texas’ embattled voter ID law is discriminatory, a federal appeals panel on Friday OK’d state lawmakers’ efforts to rewrite the law last year to address faults previously identified by the courts. On a 2-1 vote, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court’s ruling that tossed out the state’s revisions through Senate Bill 5. The lower court had said the changes did not absolve Texas lawmakers from responsibility for discriminating against voters of color when they crafted one of the nation’s strictest voter ID laws in 2011. But the Legislature “succeeded in its goal” of addressing flaws in the voter ID law in 2017, Judge Edith Jones wrote in the majority opinion for the divided panel, and the lower court acted prematurely when it “abused its discretion” in ruling to invalidate SB 5. Read More

Texas: Congressional Map Comes Under Supreme Court Scrutiny | Roll Call

The Supreme Court hears oral arguments Tuesday in a case that could not only require Texas to redraw its congressional districts, but give states a way to defend against claims of gerrymandering. This is the third case the justices will hear this term about how states draw legislative maps to gain a political advantage. Cases from Wisconsin and Maryland focus on whether those maps can be too partisan. The Texas case is a more traditional challenge to how state lawmakers draw the lines using voter data. The long legal saga over the Lone Star State’s congressional and statehouse maps stretches back to what state lawmakers decided right after the 2010 census. And the outcome now could influence how states draw new congressional maps after the census in 2020. Read More