February 7, 2019 600 AM
GALVESTON – The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, the national ACLU, the Texas Civil Rights Project, Demos, and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law on Monday filed a lawsuit against the Texas Secretary of State David Whitley and Director of Elections Keith Ingram for the creation and rollout of a flawed voter purge list that discriminates against naturalized citizens.
The lawsuit also includes election officials from Galveston, Blanco, Fayette, Caldwell, and Washington counties for sending out notices threatening to cancel voter registrations based on the list.
The lawsuit claims that Texas officials created and sent a flawed advisory to counties that flagged tens of thousands of registered voters for citizenship reviews, despite knowing that the list included naturalized citizens eligible to vote.
“The right to vote is sacrosanct. Yet, the Texas Secretary of State has engaged in a sloppy exercise that threatens to unfairly strip people of the opportunity to participate in American democracy,” said Andre Segura, legal director for the ACLU of Texas. “Even after we told Texas officials that this would happen, they doubled down on this failed experiment and left us with no other recourse but to take this to court. We look forward to ensuring that all eligible Texas voters can make their voices heard on election day.”
The case was filed on behalf of four nonprofits – MOVE Texas Civic Fund, Jolt Initiative, League of Women Voters of Texas, and NAACP of Texas. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are seeking that the court declare that the Secretary of State’s advisory violates the United States Constitution and the Voting Rights Act and that it block all Texas counties from sending notices to individuals requiring them to prove their citizenship on the basis of the purge list, or from removing any registered voter from the voter rolls based on a failure to respond to such letters.
The groups are also sending Secretary Whitely a pre-litigation notice letter stating that he has 90 days to halt the purge or face additional legal challenges under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, which permits states only to remove ineligible voters from the list and prohibits discriminatory purges.
The complaint is available at: https://www.aclutx.org/sites/default/files/move_et_al._v._whitley_et_al.pdf.