I like Gregg Abbott’s style a lot!
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) October 6, 2013
GALVESTON – A district judged erred by partially blocking the enforcement of new Texas voter registration laws while a lawsuit alleging that the laws suppress voting goes forward, a federal appeals court has ruled.
A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in a 2-1 opinion Thursday that there was not enough evidence to allow a preliminary injunction preventing the enforcement of five registration law provisions.
An emergency three-judge panel blocked U.S. District Judge Greg Costa‘s injunction before the November elections last year, leaving the final decision to Jones’ panel.
The lawsuit, which alleges that Texas laws make it difficult to register voters and that they violate the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, will go forward, civil rights attorney Chad Dunn said.
“I can assure you the case is gong to continue,” Dunn said. “Texas is now the only state in the country where it is a criminal offense to run an organized voter registration drive.”
Can ask for review
The plaintiffs can challenge the ruling by asking for a review by all 22 judges on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, known as an en banc hearing. They also can appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, or accept the ruling and focus on the lawsuit, Dunn said.
Dunn represents two Galveston County residents and the nonprofit voter registration group Voting for America, an affiliate of the nonpartisan Project Vote based in Washington, D.C. The lawsuit names Texas Secretary of State John Steen.
The Texas Attorney General’s Office issued a statement saying it was “pleased that the courts have once again reaffirmed the Texas Legislature‘s ability to adopt common-sense election laws that are designed to instill confidence in our electoral process and prevent election fraud.” It called the lawsuit a political stunt.
The lawsuit says the laws make it impossible for Voting for America to register voters in Texas, although it is able to do so in other states. Greg Abbott‘s office argues that the laws prevent vote fraud.
The five provisions previously blocked by Judge Costa make it illegal for Voting for America to use non-Texas volunteers as deputy registrars, prevent deputy registrars from registering voters from another county, forbid payment to deputy registrars, forbid the photocopying or scanning of voter registration applications and forbid sending completed voter registration forms by mail.