Biased Limits on Texas Voting Drives Survive


     WASHINGTON (CN) – The Supreme Court will not stop Texas from limiting voter-registration drives, upholding a stay on the rules that a federal judge previously deemed unconstitutional.
     Voting for America, an organization that helps develop voter-registration drives in black and Latino communities, took issue with several laws Texas passed in 2011. The rules restrict the work of volunteer deputy registrars, individuals appointed by county voter registrars to increase voter registration in the state.
     These new requirements limit volunteer registrar eligibility to Texas residents. They also bar the volunteer registrars from accepting applications until they have completed state-approved training.
     Individuals who pay, or accept payment, based on the number of newly registered voters have committed a misdemeanor under the new regulations.
     U.S. District Judge Gregg Costa had decided in August that the rules would keep minorities from the polls.
     He enjoined a regulation that prohibits volunteer registrars from photocopying applications they collect, as well as one that required volunteers to personally deliver collected applications to the appropriate county registrar.
     After finding that the federal National Voter Registration Act pre-empts those rules, Costa also blocked three other Texas laws on First Amendment grounds.
     The injunction also took aim at the Texas residency requirement for volunteer registrars, stating that Texas failed to support its claims that fraud is rampant in states that let all Americans do voter-registration work.
     After the 5th Circuit stayed this ruling on Sept. 6, however, Voting for America took its case to the Supreme Court.
     The court denied the application Tuesday, but Justice Sonia Sotomayor noted that she would partly grant the application.
     Voting for America is joined in the suit by its Washington-based affiliate Project Vote and Galveston County residents Brad Richey and Penelope McFadden, who claimed that they had been illegally kicked off voting rolls.

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