Texas won a stay Thursday of a federal court decision that had barred enforcement of the state’s toughened voter registration law. Attorney General Greg Abbott described the development as a victory for voter integrity. The state had asked the 5th U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans to stay an order barring enforcement of several provisions of a 2011 law regulating third-party voter registration activities. The plaintiff was a nonprofit that Abbott said was linked to “notorious for voter registration fraud.” U.S. District Judge Gregg Costa of Texas previously ruled the law probably conflicted with federal rules and the Constitution, but the appeals court issued the stay pending appeal in a one-page order. “The majority will assign reasons as soon as possible,” the judges said, with one dissent.
David Hinojosa, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund regional counsel in San Antonio, said the case is not related to pending litigation over the state’s voter identification law, whose enforcement is blocked pending appeals.
The Republican-dominated Legislature passed several revisions in election law last year, imposing new requirements for third-party voter registrations by groups including plaintiff Project Vote/Voting for America Inc. The new rules included barring non-Texans from becoming volunteer deputy registrars, or VDRs; prohibiting them from accepting applications for residents outside the county in which they were appointed; requiring them to personally deliver rather than mail applications to election officials; and restricting their compensation.