AG Paxton Asks 5th Circuit for Emergency Stay of Lower Court’s Voter Registration Ruling

Ken Paxton

AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton today filed an emergency motion with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit to stay a lower court’s decision ordering Texas to take costly steps to alter its voter registration procedures under extremely tight deadlines.

The motion explains that the lower court’s ruling forces Texas to engage in unnecessary monitoring activities not required by federal law. It also points out that that the three individuals suing Texas lack standing because they were already registered to vote at the time they filed their lawsuit in March 2016.

“An emergency stay is necessary to maintain Texas’ current legislatively enacted voter registration procedures while the 5th Circuit reviews our case,” Attorney General Paxton said. “The district court’s flawed ruling goes way beyond what federal law requires and the court never had jurisdiction on this voter registration case from plaintiffs who were already registered.”

Earlier this month, a U.S. District Court ruled that Texas violated the motor voter provision of the National Voter Registration Act by failing to automatically register voters who use the Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) online driver’s license renewal and change of address website. It gave the state just 45 days to implement a new system, and 14 days to devise a statewide public education plan to inform citizens about changes to the voter registration process, at a potential cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Texas Legislature enacted statutes governing voter registration that generally require written signatures on voter registration applications to lower the risk of election fraud. Currently, Texans who use the DPS driver’s license renewal and change of address website are sent to a separate page – administered by the Texas secretary of state – where they can complete an online application, print it out, provide a signature, and mail it to their county voter registrar.

View a copy of the emergency stay motion here: