Multiple civil rights organizations filed a lawsuit Monday against Texas over voter suppression.
The groups claim that an advisory sent out to thousands of voters for citizen review discriminates against naturalized citizens. They allege that the government erroneously flagged naturalized citizens for citizenship review who remain eligible to vote. The list of voters who were sent the advisory has been dubbed the “flawed voter purge list” by the plaintiffs, who allege state officials aim to strip people their power to vote.
The list was originally complied on January 25 by Texas Secretary of State David Whitely. In a press release, Whitley suggested that Texas’ Department of Public Safety (DPS) identified around 95,000 registered voters who are non-US citizens. In response to these finding, the government would issue an election advisory. In the advisory, voters were told their eligibility to vote was being investigated and they had 30 days to provide additional documentation. If one of the three specified forms of documents were not provided, the voter would be removed from the voter rolls.
The complaint, spearheaded by the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas (ACLU of Texas), challenges the advisory for violating the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The groups note that Census data identified that 87 percent of Texas’ naturalized citizens are Black or of Latino or Asian origin, and that the creation of the list may have been racially motivated. By prohibiting the right to vote based on color or race, the Texas government is acting unconstitutionally.
Additionally, a pre-litigation letter was sent to Whitley. The notice demanded stay on implementation of the advisory within 90 days or face further legal challenges under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. The federal law prohibits states from removing eligible voters and protects against discriminatory purges.