Texas Democrats are complaining as a Republican political action committee, Engage Texas, has begun setting up tents outside Texas DPS offices and registering people who are waiting in the infamously long lines to renew their driver's license to vote, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
State Rep. Chris Turner (D-Grand Prairie) says Engage Texas is very selective about who it registers, first trying to gauge the person's politics by asking, for example, whether they support 'banning late term abortion,' or flatly asking if the person is liberal or conservative, defining 'liberal' as a 'person who supports higher taxes.'
If they indicate a Republican lean, Turner says the group registers them to vote.
Turner has asked the DPS to stop the practice, saying in a letter that it appears that tax money is being used to 'subsidize political activity,' by allowing Engage Texas to set up their tents on DPS property.
But the DPS said in a statement that political speech is allowed on the grounds of DPS facilities, 'as long as it doesn't interfere with department operations.'
Empower Texas says the effort is in response to the fact that Texas has one of the lowest voter registration rates in the country, and says the group always requests permission before setting up voter registration operations in any location. A spokeswoman says everybody registering voters is certified by the state to do so.
Turner says he has no objection to registering people to vote, but he objects to Empower Texas' selective decision about who to register.