A federal judge formally dismissed the lawsuit challenging the Texas voter ID law Monday, the final step in a yearslong fight that will allow the state to enforce a weakened version of the 2011 statute. At the urging of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of Corpus Christi issued a two-sentence order dismissing the case in light of April’s decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld the law. Lawyers for the minority voters, Democratic politicians and civil rights groups that challenged the law had argued that Paxton’s request for a dismissal was an unnecessary step because there was nothing left to decide — except for assessing legal fees and costs — after the 5th Circuit Court’s decision.
Articles about voting issues in Texas.
Texas: One Republican Official Challenged Thousands Of Voter Registrations In His County. It Could Happen Elsewhere. | HuffPost
In late July, Alan Vera, the chair of the Harris County Republican Party’s Ballot Security Committee, put on a patriotic necktie, walked into the voter registration office in Houston and challenged the registrations of some 4,000 voters — there were duplicates — in his county. A few weeks later, Lynn Lane, the official photographer for the Houston Grand Opera, noticed a letter he’d sorted for recycling. The county voting registrar, the letter said, had received information that his current address was different than the one on his registration record, and he had 30 days to respond. When Lane checked his voter registration status online, he said, it was already listed as suspended. But Lane — an active voter and a Democrat — has lived in the same location for five years, he told HuffPost.
Texas: Quirk in Texas law means registrars cannot block suspect addresses from voter rolls | Houston Chronicle
The debate in Harris County over a resident’s challenge to 4,000 voter registrations ended with the county attorney declaring them invalid, but drew attention to a quirk in Texas law that bars voter registrars from investigating what they suspect are bogus addresses. Residents of a county are permitted to challenge the voter registration of other county residents if they have “personal knowledge” a voter has listed an incorrect address. The Harris County attorney concluded local Republican Party official Alan Vera could not possibly know where 4,000 voters lived, and rejected the challenges. Vera’s list, however, included thousands of voters who listed their residences at business addresses, such as parcel stores and post offices, raising questions about how those applications were approved, and what Harris County can do to correct them. Texas law requires voters to register where they live. At the same time, state law requires counties to take voters at their word that their voter registration applications are truthful.
Texas: Ted Cruz’s Campaign Marked a Fund-Raising Letter an Official ‘Summons.’ It Wasn’t Against the Rules. | The New York Times
Ted Cruz’s Senate re-election campaign has been sending voters in Texas a fund-raising letter in an envelope labeled “summons enclosed,” drawing criticism from some who called it misleading and raising questions about whether such a practice was legal. It is. That is according to Myles Martin, a spokesman for the Federal Election Commission, who said the salient question was whether a mailing contains a disclaimer saying that it came from a political campaign. And this one did. Aside from that, he said in an email, “the F.E.C.’s regulations don’t speak to how candidates may choose to word particular solicitations to potential contributors.”
A Corpus Christi federal judge on Wednesday rejected a challenge seeking to end statewide elections for Texas’ highest criminal and civil courts. The lawsuit, filed by Latino voters and an organization founded by the late civil rights activist Cesar Chavez, argued that statewide elections for members of the Texas Supreme Court and the Court of Criminal Appeals improperly dilute Latino voting strength and deny Latinos the right to elect a candidate of their choice. Ordering Texas to adopt single-member districts, the lawsuit argued, would correct the Voting Rights Act violation by creating at least two Latino-majority voting districts — based in the Rio Grande Valley and West Texas — for the nine-member courts.
Texas: O’Rourke campaign: “Impostor” responsible for texts about helping undocumented immigrants vote | The Texas Tribune
The campaign of Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, says an “impostor” was behind a text message that surfaced Wednesday asking voters to help people who are in the country illegally cast ballots. “Hi, it’s Patsy here w/ Beto for Texas,” reads the text, which was circulating on social media. “Our records indicate that you’re a supporter. We are in search of volunteers to help transport undocumented immigrants to polling booths so that they will be able vote. Would you be able to support this grassroots effort?” “That was not an approved message by the campaign,” said Chris Evans, O’Rourke’s communications director. “It was sent by an impostor. But we’re continuing to look into what happened.” Another apparently unauthorized text shared with the Tribune also said it was from “Patsy” and told readers that the campaign is “conducting an internal poll and would like to know your thoughts on the dangers of socialism.” It was not immediately clear how many unapproved texts went out and how many voters they reached.
The Sunset Advisory Commission unanimously voted on Wednesday to reject a proposal to close 87 Texas Department of Public Safety driver’s license offices. DPS had recommended that the commission — which reviews state agency performance and recommends changes — vote to close the offices, most of which are in rural areas, citing office inefficiency. Commission members — five state senators, five state representatives and two members of the public — voted 11-0 against shuttering doors. One of the members of the public on the commission, Ronald Steinhart, was present but did not vote. Several members said some of the offices are the only ones in rural counties and serve low-income people who would unfairly shoulder the burden of having to drive long distances to a neighboring county’s driver’s license office.
The voters of color, civil rights groups and Democratic lawmakers who have long challenged the validity of Texas’ political maps were dealt a bruising loss earlier this year when the U.S. Supreme Court signed off on most of the state’s current political boundaries and pushed aside claims that state lawmakers had intentionally discriminated against voters of color when they drew the maps. But a crucial question remained in the case: Would the state’s opponents ask the courts to force Texas back under federal oversight of its electoral map drawing, given previous maps that federal judges ruled discriminatory? Their answer came Wednesday in a series of brief court filings in which some of the plaintiffs in the case indicated they wanted to press forward on those high stakes efforts.
Texas officials are pushing to close dozens of driver’s license offices in counties with large populations of Hispanic and Black voters—a move that could have an outsize impact in a state that makes it difficult to vote without a photo ID. The Texas counties of Zapata, Jim Hogg, Brooks, and Kenedy stretch from the U.S.-Mexico border to the Gulf of Mexico and are the gateway to the Rio Grande Valley. Residents of these mostly rural and overwhelmingly Hispanic counties either have to or may soon have to travel to another county to obtain a driver’s license.
Texas: Election judges can carry guns to the polls, Attorney General Ken Paxton says | The Texas Tribune
Firearms are generally not allowed at the polls while voters are casting ballots in Texas. But with some limited exceptions, presiding election judges who are licensed to carry may bring their guns to polling places, Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a nonbinding opinion Monday. Presiding election judges, who are generally civilians appointed by local party officials to head up a team of poll workers, do everything from settling election disputes to doling out “I Voted” stickers. They’re charged with keeping their polling places calm, and they have “the power of a district judge to enforce order and preserve the peace,” according to Texas election law.