League of Women Voters of Texas Celebrates a Victory for Voting Rights

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Press Release
Date of Release or Mention: 
Friday, April 26, 2019
Austin – The League of Women Voters of Texas and other nonprofit groups and civil rights organizations have reached an agreement with Texas state officials to settle the lawsuit filed after the Secretary of State’s office attempted an inaccurate and discriminatory voter purge. This agreement is a victory for voting rights. It successfully prevents the state of Texas from disenfranchising thousands of eligible voters and intimidating countless more.
“The League regrets that it took a lawsuit to remind our state officials that naturalized citizens have a right to vote and to fully participate in our democracy. We are hopeful that new procedures will prevent naturalized citizens from being treated as second class citizens,” said Grace Chimene, president of the League of Women Voters of Texas. “We will continue to work with the Secretary of State, as the chief election officer for Texas, to protect all citizens’ right to vote.”
The League joined the lawsuit against the Texas Secretary of State’s office and several Texas counties after Secretary of State Whitley made unfounded accusations that as many as 95,000 non-citizens had voted in recent Texas elections. This claim was based on flawed data and created unnecessary suspicion about naturalized citizens. The action was discriminatory and unjustly targeted people of color.
The terms of the settlement have the state rescind its original statement announcing the purge and agree to adopt a new, more confined, voter database maintenance process. Additionally, it must follow a list of procedures before initiating any program to invalidate the voter registration of any individual based on DPS citizenship data. The plaintiffs will retain the right to sue again if the state persists with discriminatory actions or operates in a manner that violates protected rights.
There was never a problem of non-citizens registering and voting in Texas — there was a data problem. The League will be monitoring the voter database maintenance process to ensure the right to vote is guaranteed to all eligible citizens.
"We are thrilled that our fight to protect the right to vote was successful," said Chimene. "The League of Women Voters of Texas believes that this fight is critical to our democracy."
“No citizen should have to fear that their voting rights might be taken away because of where they were born," said Chris Carson, president of the League of Women Voters of the United States. "I’m thankful to the League of Women Voters of Texas and its partners for acting quickly and forcefully to protect the rights of these Texas voters.” 
The League of Women Voters of Texas represents over 8,000 grassroots advocates across the State of Texas. The Texas League has been "organizing, educating and agitating" since 1919. The League is a nonpartisan organization - it does not support or oppose any candidates or parties. Instead, the League encourages active and informed civic participation in government and increased understanding of major public policy issues.
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