The state of Texas has until Thursday to tell a federal judge in San Antonio how it will begin complying with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, by allowing residents to register to vote when they update their driver’s license online.
The Texas Civil Rights Project sued the state saying it is violating what's also known as the "Motor Voter Law" by not simultaneously registering voters when they renew their license online.
“For those customers who go online, it asks that question, but it doesn't automatically register you to vote if you check 'yes,'” says Hani Mirza, a staff attorney for TCRP.
The TRCP represents three people who only found out they weren't registered to vote when they got to their polling location.
“This affects over 1.5 million people who use this service annually,” says Mirza. “We believe thousands of people, like our clients, could not cast a ballot because the state did not properly register them.”
The state argues it is in compliance with federal voting laws, simply by providing a link to a voter registration form.
“On the receipt page they provide you a link to the Secretary of State website where they provide you a voter registration form which you have to print and fill out,” argues Mirza. “That's starkly different than what happens in-person at a DPS office where you just check a box and you're automatically registered to vote.”
No comment from the Texas Attorney General's office, but a spokesman last week indicated it may appeal the judge's ruling.