Demos Files Amicus Brief Regarding NVRA Section 5 Compliance in Texas

Demos Files Amicus Brief Regarding NVRA Section 5 Compliance in Texas

September 10, 2018


In their brief urging reversal of the district court’s grant of summary judgment to Plaintiffs-Appellees, Defendants-Appellants (“Appellants”) argue that they have not violated the National Voter Registration Act (“NVRA”), 52 U.S.C. § 20501, et seq., by failing to provide voter registration services during driver’s license renewal and change-of-address transactions conducted online. See Appellants’ Br. at 34-38. They further suggest that, because of state signature collection requirements, the best they can do to comply with Section 5 of the NVRA is what the State of Texas already does: mail a blank voter registration form to individuals who affirmatively indicate that they would like to update their registration when changing their driver’s license address online or renewing their registration. Id. at 36-37; 44-45. But the experiences of multiple other states illustrate that there are simple, practical, and administrable steps Appellants could take to comply with the NVRA.

Amici write to inform the Court about the voter registration practices that states have implemented to comply with the NVRA. These examples demonstrate that alternative means exist for providing voter registration services alongside online driver’s license change-of-address and renewal forms that are far more effective than Texas’s current, noncompliant system. The experiences of these states also show that providing voter registration during online transactions covered under Section 5 of the NVRA offers substantial administrative benefits, increases voter registration, and promotes the accuracy and completeness of voter rolls. In sum, practical options for complying with the NVRA exist and can easily be implemented in Texas, even without implementing statewide online voter registration.

To assist the Court, this brief will: (1) provide background on the requirements of the NVRA; (2) identify how other states meet their NVRA obligations and provide voter registration services during online driver’s license transactions; and (3) explain specific steps Appellants can take to enhance their own voter registration, change-of-address, and renewal procedures in order to comply with the NVRA.