Texas Must Turn Over Records of State Voting Purge Program to Voting Rights Groups
Austin, TX – A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the Texas Secretary of State to release records about a state program that claims to identify non-U.S. citizens on the voter rolls, according to court documents.
In February, Campaign Legal Center (CLC), Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Texas (ACLU Texas), DĒMOS and Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed a lawsuit arguing that Texas Secretary of State John B. Scott’s refusal to turn over the records related to his program to remove voters from the rolls based on alleged citizenship status violates the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). According to the complaint, the records could shed light on whether Scott is using outdated citizenship data in driver’s license records to purge registered voters and targeting naturalized U.S. citizens who are legitimately registered to vote. In 2021, the groups sent two letters requesting the records under the NVRA but did not receive them. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas.
Following a bench trial in May, U.S. District Court Judge Lee Yeakel ruled that Scott had violated the NVRA and gave him 14 days to turn over the records.
Danielle Lang, senior vice president at Campaign Legal Center, made the following statement in response:
“Our democracy works best when every voter can participate. By refusing to comply with the National Voter Registration Act, Texas stonewalled essential public monitoring that helps ensure elections are free and fair. Naturalized citizens in Texas, and every U.S. state, should not have to worry about being purged from the voting rolls and denied their freedom to vote. Thankfully, Texas will now have to produce records for their discriminatory voter purge program, so we can continue to protect Texans’ freedom to vote and guarantee safe and accessible elections for all.”