By Mark Richardson
SAN ANTONIO – A public interest group has filed a class-action lawsuit against the state of Texas for refusing to allow people to register to vote when they renew their driver’s licenses online.
The Texas Civil Rights Project claims the Texas Department of Public Safety’s website is difficult and confusing for people seeking to register online.
Hani Mirza, a staff attorney with the Project, says they have received complaints from numerous people who were denied the opportunity to vote.
“We’ve had almost 2,000 complaints from voters attempting to update their registration files when visiting the DPS website, and I think that’s just a fraction of the issues that people are having around the state,” says Mirza.
Officials with the DPS and the Texas Secretary of State’s Office, which is in charge of elections in the state, declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Mirza says under the National Voter Registration Act, eligible voters have a right to register when they update or renew their driver’s license.
However, he says many eligible voters who attempted to update their voter registration records through the DPS website were rejected, and when they arrived at the polls, were not allowed to vote.
“We’re seeking an injunction,” says Mirza. “We are asking the state to change their policies, specifically to allow simultaneous voter registration when somebody submits a driver’s license application or renewal application online.”
The complaints were compiled from elections held across the state between September 2013 and May 2015, and do not include any complaints from the recent Texas primary.
Mirza believes there are many more people than those who registered complaints that were denied the opportunity to vote by the flawed DPS website.