Civil rights groups win voter purge legal battle in Texas

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Photo: Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

On Friday, civil rights groups won – and Republican State officials lost – a lawsuit over a controversial voter purge attempt that began earlier this year.

In February, several formidable nonprofit groups filed a lawsuit against Texas officials after they sent out a press release a month prior warning of 95,000 “Possible Non U.S. Citizens” that were registered to vote.

“After months of litigation, the state has finally agreed to do what we’ve demanded from the start—a complete withdrawal of the flawed and discriminatory voter purge list, bringing this failed experiment in voter suppression to an end,” said Andre Segura, Legal Director for the ACLU of Texas in a statement.

“The right to vote is sacrosanct, and no eligible voter should have to worry about losing that right. We are glad that the state has agreed to give up this misguided effort to eliminate people from the voter rolls, and we will continue to monitor any future voter purge efforts by the state to ensure that no eligible Texan loses their voice in our democracy,” Segura said.

Among others, the original lawsuit blamed Texas Secretary of State David Whitley for sending out the press release and Texas Director of Elections Keith Ingram for advising Texas counties to investigate voters on the list.

Under the settlement, the state has to pay back $450,000 in legal fees.

“According to the terms of the settlement the state will rescind its original advisory announcing the purge effort and agree to a new voter database maintenance process that is much more limited in scope,” wrote the Texas Civil Rights Project in a statement describing the deal. “The state has also agreed to provide and maintain information regarding the implementation of the process. The plaintiffs will also retain the right to bring another challenge to the process if the state continues to discriminate or violate protected rights.”

You can read the details of the settlement here.

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