A new Texas law demanding a paper copy of voter registration applications alongside any online registrations has now been challenged in federal court. The law serves no necessary purpose — in Texas, as the lawsuit lays out, electronic signatures like those submitted with online voter registration applications are recognized as legally binding, and furthermore, local elections officials who handle voter registration applications generally don’t even “analyse” signatures that are submitted with those documents. What the law does do, however, is impose another procedural hurdle to voting.
As the new lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of Vote.org, puts it:
‘Despite a concerted effort to modernize election procedures, when it comes to voter registration… Texas continues to embrace and reinforce antiquated rules that serve no purpose other than to make voting harder.’
⚖️@votedotorg: "Despite a concerted effort to modernize election procedures, when it comes to voter registration…Texas continues to embrace and reinforce antiquated rules that serve no purpose other than to make voting harder." https://t.co/DBoPQehswr
— Democracy Docket (@DemocracyDocket) July 20, 2021
Texas Republicans have been attempting to enact other suppressive new election restrictions recently, with Democrats in the state House actually leaving the state to block Republican leaders from having the quorum that is necessary to pass those restrictions. Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott has claimed that the Democratic legislators will be “arrested” upon their eventual return to the state, but, for starters, “arrests” of the legislators aren’t actually a legitimate possibility. Absent legislators can be detained, but on CNN, Texas state Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D) drew a sharp distinction between those potential detentions and the “arrests” that Abbott promised. Furthermore, Abbott doesn’t even have the power to order detentions — that’s the prerogative of the state House speaker.
Meanwhile, other suppressive new voting restrictions in other states with Republicans in charge have also been challenged in court. States where Republican efforts to put new restrictions on voting in place have been successful — for now — include Florida, Georgia, and Iowa, and there have been lawsuits across these states. The restrictions that have been successfully enacted include new voter ID requirements, tighter guidelines around the use of drop boxes for mail-in ballots, and more. In Iowa, Republican Governor Kim Reynolds even signed something into law that shaves an hour off the time that polling places are open on Election Day. What legitimate election security purpose could that possibly serve? Shouldn’t making voting more accessible be a goal of leaders in a democratic society?