On Thursday, Jan. 16, the League of Women Voters of Texas and other plaintiffs filed a federal lawsuit claiming that the state violates the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) by not providing voter registration with driver’s license applications online. 

“Voters have a right to clear and easy access to registration. As an organization dedicated to voter information and advocacy, the League of Women Voters sees first-hand how barriers to registration keep eligible Texans from the ballot box,” said Grace Chimene, president of the League of Women Voters of Texas, in a press release. “By not providing this access to online users, the state of Texas is denying its voters their rights.”

Also known as the “motor-voter law,” the press release said the NVRA requires states to ensure the opportunity for voters to register to vote or update their voter registration each time they obtain, renew, or update their driver’s license. 

In Texas, this opportunity is only offered when eligible residents appear at a Texas Department of Public Safety office in person — not when they update or renew their license online. 

“The law is clear: each time a person uses a driver's license application, that application must serve as an application for voter registration,” said Celina Stewart, senior director of Advocacy and Litigation for the League of Women Voters of the United States. “With a growing number of people relying on online tools to renew and update their driver’s licenses, the state must ensure that these residents have the same opportunities for voter registration as everyone else.”

The League of Women Voters of Texas and its fellow plaintiffs are represented by the Texas Civil Rights Project.

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