More problems for the Texas election system, as U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia in San Antonio ruled late Tuesday that Texas is in violation of a 1993 law known as the 'Motor Voter Act,' which requires state governments to offer people who apply for driver's licenses or apply to have them renewed to be given the opportunity to register to vote, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
The lawsuit was filed by the Texas Civil Rights Project on behalf of three people who say they were led to believe they had registered to vote when they went on line to renew their driver's licenses.
"The state does not provide voter registration services for people who update their drivers licensed information or renew their drivers license on line in Texas," Beth Stevens of the Project told News Radio 1200 WOAI. "That amounts to one point five million people each year."
Stevens says the DPS offered voter registration services under the Motor Voter Act to people who applied to renew their driver's licenses in person, but not those who did it on line, which she says violated the 14th Amendment right to equal protection under the law.
The State of Texas says it does not allow on line voter registration of any type, so it would be inappropriate to offer that service only to people who are dealing with driver's license issues and not for the general public.
Garcia indicated he would rule within two weeks on what Texas needs to do to come into compliance with his order, and it could involve setting up an entire framework to allow people to register to vote on line.
Stevens says she hopes the issue is solved in time to register new voters for this November's election.
"We've got a decades-old federal law here that is meant to bring more eligible citizens onto the rolls, and the state is actively failing to comply with that."
The state has not said whether the ruling will be appealed.