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    Court Filings & Opinions Democracy & Voting Rights

    Texas LULAC vs. Whitley

    A challenge to Secretary of State David Whitley on the implementation of a voter purged program that threatened thousands of Texan’s voting rights.


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    A challenge to Secretary of State David Whitley on the implementation of a voter purged program that threatened thousands of Texan’s voting rights.

     

    Overview:

    On January 25, 2019, Texas Secretary of State David Whitley released an advisory regarding the fact that some people in Texas who were currently registered to vote had indicated that they were non-citizens when they applied for their driver’s license. As a result, Secretary Whitley suggested that they were illegal non-citizen voters, which was not the case. Driver’s licenses in Texas last six years and the list his office has was outdated, so it could have been that those people have become naturalized citizens since getting their driver’s license. Additionally, Secretary Whitley encouraged investigations that can potentially lead to unjustified criminal investigations and gave people 30 days to prove their citizenship, or else they would have their registrations canceled. With all this in mind, LULAC filed suit against Whitley due to unlawful voter intimidation under the Voting Rights Act. 

    Secretary Whitley’s voter purge program violated the 1st and 14th amendment, targeted naturalized citizens, and threatened thousands of voting rights. In the end, a final settlement agreement was reached and ended Whitley’s voter purge program. This agreement prevented the government from targeting United States naturalized citizens from a potential criminal investigation and from being removed from the voting lists. Instead, the only individuals that would be flagged are those who register to vote first then provide evidence of non-citizenship afterward. All in all, Texas voters were reassured that their vote is important and that they will not be discriminated upon due to voter roll purges.