CLC et al v. Scott

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At a Glance

Campaign Legal Center (CLC), ACLU Texas, MALDEF, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and DĒMOS asked a district court to order Secretary of State John B. Scott to produce records responsive to their August and October 2021 records requests seeking information about the state’s new voter purge program.  

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A state’s refusal to comply with the National Voter Registration Act’s (NVRA) public disclosure requirement is not an esoteric question of public records maintenance. Rather, it is an act of stonewalling public monitoring intended to ensure that all citizens have equal access to the ballot.

That is why earlier this week Campaign Legal Center...

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About this Case

On August 20, 2021, the Office of the Attorney General of Texas sent CLC and its partner organizations a letter stating that Secretary Scott had identified 11,197 registered voters as potential non-U.S. citizens using data from the Texas Department of Public Safety. The letter also stated that Secretary Scott’s office would send the identified registrants’ information to county election administrators to either verify their citizenship status or cancel their voter registration. 

In August and October 2021, plaintiffs submitted records requests under the 1993 National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) to Secretary Scott for records of every individual identified under the new voter purge program as a potential non-U.S. citizen and the data the Secretary of State relied on to determine each voter’s citizenship status. 

The state has failed to produce any records responsive to CLC and its partner organizations’ records requests under the NVRA, therefore the groups are asking the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas to order Secretary Scott to produce these records as required by federal law.  

After CLC sued Texas’ former Secretary of State in 2019 for inaccurately flagging tens of thousands of naturalized U.S. citizen registered voters as non-citizens, the state entered into a settlement agreement with CLC and its partners to completely reform Texas’ flawed voter purge program.  

Applying the procedures outlined in that 2019 Settlement Agreement, the state has now allegedly identified over 11,000 potential non-U.S. citizen registrants. Yet, Secretary Scott’s refusal to turn over information responsive to the records requests has prevented CLC and its partners from confirming that Texas is complying with the settlement agreement and not improperly purging eligible voters. 

Early indicators show that the state may not be following the procedure outlined in the Settlement Agreement, leading to the inaccurate flagging of eligible U.S. Citizen voters as non-U.S. Citizens. According to public statements from the Texas Secretary of State’s office, 2,327 of the over 11,000 registered voters flagged as being potential non-U.S. citizens have had their voter registrations canceled. Yet, the state has only confirmed that 278 – approximately 2% - of the voters flagged are non-U.S. citizens.  

The court should step in to ensure that Texas produces lists of every registered voter identified under its new voter purge program as a potential non-U.S. citizen and the data the Secretary of State relied on to flag individuals as potential non-U.S. citizens, as Texas is required to do under the NVRA. Texas’ Secretary of State must produce these records so that CLC and its partner organizations can continue to effectively protect the voting rights of Texas citizens. 

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