FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
MOVE TEXAS PARTNERS WITH TEXAS SENATOR JOSÉ MENÉNDEZ (D-26) TO INTRODUCE NUMEROUS VOTING RIGHTS BILLS IN THE 86TH TEXAS LEGISLATIVE SESSION

Austin, TX — Wednesday, February 27, 2019 — This week State Senator José Menéndez, D-26, filed numerous senate bills expanding, modernizing, and deepening voting rights. Senate Bill 1053 is an item to automatically register eligible individuals to vote upon turning 18. Senate Bill 1194 universalizes the registration powers of deputy voter registrars across Texas counties and standardizes voter registration materials across the State. Senate Bill 1195 will make college campus polling locations mandatory for all campuses with student populations of 5,000 or more. Senate Bill 101 introduces countywide polling locations to vote at any poll site on election day. Senate Bill 276 is same day voter registration. Senate Bill 103 automates registration to vote when renewing/applying driver’s license or state ID. Senate Bill 104 repeals a modern day poll tax on the photo ID requirement. Senate Bill 231 adds multiple documents to meet the “proof of identification” requirement. Senate Bill 277 required voting machines print two paper receipts, one for the voter’s records and one at the polling place in case of recount.

MOVE Texas Action Fund is proud to partner with Senator Menéndez in his efforts to expand voters’ access to polls and views the Senator’s legislation as a critical steps forward toward meaningfully supporting voting rights, making both voter participation easier and more accessible while making deputy registrars more flexible and mobile in their registration efforts. Through these bills, Senator Menéndez is showing Texas he is champion of voting rights, expanding the electorate, increasing turnout and signaling to young people that their participation in civic life is innovatively supported.

“At MOVE Texas, we register new voters everyday who are eager to become civically engaged, but we regularly hear students feel discouraged to participate because of unnecessary difficulty in the process, from registration to the ballot box,” said Alex Birnel, MOVE Texas Action Fund Advocacy Manager. “The political impact of this de facto exclusion is a skewed expression of the electorate, where young voices, often times the wellspring of new policy ideas, are ultimately missing from the conversation. Senator Menéndez’s legislative efforts to expand voting rights in our system represent bold solutions to structural problems.”

“It is imperative to the success of our democracy that the voices of the people of Texas are heard. Our voting rights are protected under the constitution and as such, it is our duty as lawmakers to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to engage in the electoral process,” said Senator Menéndez. “Instead of suppressing the voting power of our Texas citizens, both young and older, we must address new methods of voting through developing technology and better access to the polls. We accomplish this by continuously examining and implementing new and improved methods, which ultimately allows everyone full and equal participation in our society.”

 

Civil Rights Organizations Sue Texas Officials Over Attempted Voter Purge

Lawsuit states that creation and rollout of flawed voter purge list discriminated against naturalized citizens

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 4, 2019

CONTACT:

Imelda Mejia, ACLU of Texas, media@aclutx.org, 346-299-6803

Zenén Jaimes Pérez, TCRP, media@texascivilrightsproject.org, 512-914-5905

Inga Sarda-Sorensen, ACLU, isarda-sorensen@aclu.org, 347-514-3984

Jenifer Fenton, Demos, jfenton@demos.org 646-255-3054

Derrick Robinson, Lawyers’ Committee, Derrick Robinson, 202-866-6317

 

GALVESTON, Texas – The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, the national ACLU, the Texas Civil Rights Project, Demos, and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed today a lawsuit against the Texas Secretary of State David Whitley for the creation and rollout of a flawed voter purge list that discriminates against naturalized citizens. The lawsuit also includes election officials from Galveston, Blanco, Fayette, Caldwell, and Washington counties for sending out notices threatening to cancel voter registrations based on the list.

The lawsuit claims that Texas officials created and sent a flawed advisory to counties that flagged tens of thousands of registered voters for citizen reviews, despite knowing that the list included naturalized citizens eligible to vote.

The groups also sent Secretary Whitely a pre-litigation notice letter stating that he has 90 days to halt the purge or face additional legal challenges under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, which permits states only to remove ineligible voters from the list and prohibits discriminatory purges.

“The right to vote is sacrosanct.  Yet, the Texas Secretary of State has engaged in a sloppy exercise that threatens to unfairly strip people of the opportunity to participate in American democracy,” said Andre Segura, legal director for the ACLU of Texas.  “Even after we told Texas officials that this would happen, they doubled down on this failed experiment and left us with no other recourse but to take this to court.  We look forward to ensuring that all eligible Texas voters can make their voices heard on election day.”

“There is no question that Secretary Whitley released a flawed and inaccurate advisory that risks throwing thousands of eligible voters off the rolls,” said Beth Stevens, Voting Rights Legal Director with the Texas Civil Rights Project. “Our lawsuit seeks to put the brakes on this voter suppression by rescinding the flawed advisory. Not one single eligible Texan should lose the right to vote because state officials have decided to pursue a radical anti-voter agenda.”

“The Texas Secretary of State simply chose to assume the worst,” said Brendan Downes, Associate Counsel with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law’s Voting Rights Project. “The idea that nearly 100,000 non-citizens knowingly and willfully registered to vote, thereby risking deportation and threatening the well-being of themselves and their families, is an absurdity. That assumption is now endangering the voting rights of thousands of qualified voters. It’s a hell of a welcome mat for people who have recently become citizens of this country. You have to question why the Secretary didn’t do more to ensure that everyone who should be on the rolls stays on the rolls.”

“This exercise is a thinly veiled attempt to advance the voter fraud myth to justify restrictive voter requirements and suppress voting rights,” said Sophia Lakin, staff attorney with the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project. “We’re suing Texas for rolling out this error-ridden voter purge program that unlawfully targets and threatens the voting rights of eligible and duly registered naturalized citizens.”

“Texas is stirring up anti-immigrant sentiment, undermining the public’s faith in our democracy, and preparing to purge thousands of eligible citizens from the rolls,” said Chiraag Bains, Director of Legal Strategies at Demos. “The Secretary of State is relying on information he knows to be out-of-date and unreliable. He is intentionally targeting new Americans and people of color in order to decrease minority voter participation, in flagrant violation of the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act. We’re asking the federal court to stop the state from undermining the fundamental right to vote.”

“Texas officials launched a voter purge with a big splash and inaccurate data,” said Grace Chimene, President of the League of Women Voters of Texas. “The League of Women Voters of Texas is calling on the Texas Secretary of State to rescind the Elections Advisory and join with the League to celebrate naturalized citizens who register to vote and assure these citizens that their vote matters and will be counted.”

“Our democracy is stronger when everyone has a seat at the table. But elected officials at the highest level of office are fighting tooth and nail to deprive Texans of their right to vote. The right to vote was won through centuries of struggle, and we continue that struggle today to expand access to the ballot box for all eligible voters,” ​said Cristina Tzintzun Ramirez, Founder and Executive Director of Jolt Initiative.

“The Texas Secretary of State’s misguided advisory attempted to suppress the voting rights of new citizens and people of color by weaponizing a myth about the prevalence of illegitimate voters,” said H. Drew Galloway, Executive Director of MOVE Texas Civic Fund. “Voter purges transform civic participation into a hostile activity, where one’s identity and legitimacy as a citizen is repeatedly questioned. Instead of scrutinizing legitimate voters who are earnest and eager to participate, the State of Texas should be creating policy to make voting more welcoming, more accessible, and more inclusive for the health of our democracy.”

The case was filed on behalf of four nonprofits – MOVE Texas Civic Fund, Jolt Initiative, League of Women Voters of Texas, and NAACP of Texas – whose members include naturalized citizens and which conduct voter registration services at naturalization ceremonies. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are seeking that the court declare that the Secretary of State’s  advisory violates the United States Constitution and the Voting Rights Act and that it block all Texas counties from sending notices to individuals requiring them to prove their citizenship on the basis of the purge list, or from removing any registered voter from the voter rolls based on a failure to respond to such letters.

The groups are also sending Secretary Whitely a pre-litigation notice letter stating that he has 90 days to halt the purge or face additional legal challenges under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, which permits states only to remove ineligible voters from the list and prohibits discriminatory purges.

The complaint is available at: https://www.aclutx.org/sites/default/files/move_et_al._v._whitley_et_al.pdf

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CONTACT: Madison Porras

madison@movesanantonio.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

MOVE TEXAS CALLS FOR LAWSUIT AGAINST CITY OF SAN ANTONIO TO BE DROPPED

San Antonio, TX — Tuesday, December 5, 2018 — Last Friday, the Texas Attorney General filed a frivolous lawsuit against the City of San Antonio, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus, the San Antonio Police Department, and City Manager Sheryl Sculley concerning the 2017 incident of trafficked undocumented immigrants. MOVE Texas Action Fund opposes this lawsuit and supports the rights of Texas municipalities to protect our local community.

For young people by young people, MOVE Texas is fully committed to creating a safer, more inclusive Texas for a time when racism and xenophobia are heightened influences in our state’s policy making agenda.

Claiming that Chief McManus violated Senate Bill 4 (SB4), Texas’ racist “Show Me Your Papers” law, the Attorney General fundamentally does not understand the law’s application: The San Antonio Police Chief acted in accordance with the law, examined evidence, and made a decision to coordinate with local immigration rights nonprofits, relief organizations, and legal service providers so that the victims of this brutal experience could receive legal, psychological, and material care.

“No state official knows our community better than San Antonio Police Chief McManus,” said MOVE Texas Action Fund Executive Director H. Drew Galloway. “This political stunt by the Office of the Texas Attorney General is an attempt to inflame animosity against our immigrant classmates and neighbors before the 86th Texas Legislature, wasting millions of taxpayer dollars on a lawsuit they will ultimately lose.”

In 2017, MOVE Texas Action Fund sued the State of Texas over Senate Bill 4. While we await a decision by the judiciary, we stand by Chief McManus’ professional judgement on how to best handle human trafficking cases at the local level.

Involving Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in these incidents is not a humane response. We remain dedicated to protecting and empowering young immigrants, young people of color, and undocumented people across Texas.

“Victims of human trafficking are not criminals. They are people caught in tragic circumstances who need our compassion, empathy, and solidarity, ” said MOVE Texas Action Fund Advocacy Manager Alex Birnel. “We must continue to create a shelter for those most vulnerable to systems of oppression.”

About MOVE Texas Action Fund

MOVE (Mobilize. Organize. Vote. Empower) Texas Action Fund is a grassroots, nonpartisan nonprofit organization building power in underrepresented youth communities through civic education, leadership development, and issue advocacy. For more information about our work, visit movetexas.org. MOVE Texas Action Fund is a member of SA Stands, a local coalition fighting for policies that embody the humanity, dignity, and respect all people deserve.

Young Voters Bring New Energy To Politics On National Voter Registration Day

Young Voters Bring New Energy To Politics On National Voter Registration Day

It’s everyone’s responsibility to help students get the knowledge, tools, resources, and community support they need to cast their ballot. Rather than lamenting that students don’t care enough to vote, we must ensure the voice of America’s future is represented and has the tools to vote.

Power of the Youth Vote

Power of the Youth Vote | Our Movement Monday by Raven Douglas

Power of the Youth Vote | Our Movement Monday In our series Our Movement Monday, we talk with Texas Democrats across our state about their work and the challenges facing their communities. Raven Douglas is the Deputy Director of MOVE Texas , a grassroots, nonpartisan nonprofit organization building power in underrepresented youth communities through civic education, leadership development, and issue advocacy.

Young Voters Bring New Energy To Politics On National Voter Registration Day

Young Voters Bring New Energy To Politics On National Voter Registration Day

It’s everyone’s responsibility to help students get the knowledge, tools, resources, and community support they need to cast their ballot. Rather than lamenting that students don’t care enough to vote, we must ensure the voice of America’s future is represented and has the tools to vote.

TAMIU Students Attend Texas Voting Summit

TAMIU Students Attend Texas Voting Summit

“We’re focusing on mobilizing our efforts, including how to plan events and creating comprehensive plans to reach as many students as possible,” explained Rivera, “I look forward to implementing the many ideas we learned [at the summit] to promote voting participation here at TAMIU, with campus-wide events and collaboration with our student organizations.”

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