Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced today that a legal team from his office vigorously defended Texas’ voter registration procedures during oral arguments before the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that a lower court’s costly and unreasonable requirements drastically exceeded the demands of federal law.

Last May, a U.S. District Court ruled that Texas violated the “motor voter” provision of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) by failing to automatically register voters who use the Texas Department of Public Safety’s online driver’s license renewal and change of address website. The court gave the state what it considered an impossibly tight window to design and implement a new system and created a range of other requirements nowhere mandated by federal law. The 5th Circuit then granted Texas an emergency stay pending appeal.

According to the release, Paxton’s team demonstrated to the appellate court that Texas’ registration process is consistent with the NVRA and that the trial court’s slate of requirements drastically exceeded the demands of federal law.

“Congress, in the text of the NVRA, recognized that requiring a voter to sign a registration application is an important means of upholding election integrity,” Paxton said. “Texas’ duly elected policy-makers agreed, and federal judges have no right to alter that decision because they disagree with it. Not only that, but the district court’s injunction also imposed an array of intrusive requirements—all at the request of plaintiffs who already have registered to vote. I’m hopeful that the 5th Circuit will reverse this decision, which is flawed from top to bottom.”

Paxton noted the Texas Legislature enacted statutes governing voter registration that generally require written signatures on voter registration applications to combat election fraud. Currently, Texans who use the DPS driver’s license renewal and change of address website are sent to a separate page – administered by the Texas secretary of state – where they can complete an online application, print it out, sign it and mail it to their county voter registrar.

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.