LULAC v. Elfant – SB1111 (TX)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
On June 22, 2021 Texas LULAC and Voto Latino filed a complaint against the Election Administrators of six major Texas counties challenging the constitutionality of SB1111, which modifies state residency requirements for voter registration purposes. Two county election officials and Texas AG Paxton (on behalf of the state) later intervened in support of the law as additional defendants.
The plaintiffs argue that the law violates the First, Fourth and 26th Amendments and “imposes vague, onerous restrictions on the voter registration process.” Specifically, SB1111:
- Prohibits Texas voters from moving with the aim of influencing election outcomes;
- Eliminates the option for some voters, like college students or low-income individuals, to register to vote at a temporary address; and
- Heightens document verification requirements for individuals with challenged or unconfirmed addresses.
States United and Cooley LLP are serving as pro-bono co-counsel for defendant Lisa Wise, El Paso County’s Election Administrator. Wise makes the case that Texas elections are free, fair, and secure, and SB1111 is unnecessary. Worse, these provisions may suppress voter registration and turnout, and unnecessarily burden Election Administrators and voters. Wise and other election officials have no way to determine a person’s reason for relocation. In addition, confusion arising from SB 1111’s temporary-relocation provision has left many election administrators unable to give clear guidance to individuals attempting to register to vote.
On August 2, federal district court Judge Lee Yeakel ruled that the first two provisions of the law outlined above are unconstitutional and permanently blocked their enforcement. Two days later, AG Paxton and the two county-level officials that intervened in the case filed an appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
On August 2, Judge Lee Yeakel ruled that the first two provisions of the law outlined above were unconstitutional and permanently blocked their enforcement. On August 4, AG Paxton and the two county-level officials that intervened in the case filed an appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.