The nonprofit Voting for America filed a federal lawsuit Monday alleging Texas voter rolls have been actively suppressed by excessive restrictions on volunteers who conduct registration drives, aggressive purges of county voter rolls and poll workers who improperly requested identification from voters. “A developing body of state practices and provisions targeted at voter registration activities is endangering the rights of many Texas voters,” the lawsuit alleges. The group, affiliated with the Washington D.C.-based Project Vote, runs nonpartisan voter registration drives nationwide and has previously mounted legal challenges to state voter registration procedures in Missouri, Ohio, Indiana and New Mexico, among other states.
The latest lawsuit filed in the Southern District of Texas courts names Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade and takes aim at the state’s new mandatory training for all volunteer registrars – in which almost anyone who handles a voter’s application as part of a registration drive has to complete training before he or she can be “deputized” to operate in any Texas county. A spokesman for Andrade refused comment.
Population growth in Texas exceeds most other states, while many voter registration rolls throughout the state remain stagnant. As of January, 12.9 million Texans had registered to vote -up just 2 percent from January 2008.