Multiple clues suggest Texas may be stifling voter registration

Multiple clues suggest Texas may be stifling voter registration

Multiple clues suggest Texas may be stifling voter registration
October 11
00:34 2018

Last week it was announced that thousands of citizens who registered to vote through vote.org, a third-party, nonprofit voter registration website, may not actually be eligible to vote. The organization mailed and faxed voter applications to county registrars in compliance with laws, but had users upload digital signatures in lieu of a “wet signature,” thus invalidating the registrations.

Texans who registered through this website were notified to resubmit applications within 10 days, even if it is past the registration deadline, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Texas law says registrars have seven days to decide to accept or reject applications, and must notify applicants of rejection within two days.

It is admirable that the office accepted resubmissions beyond the registration period, but the principle remains that this all could have been avoided if the state made its voting registration measures less convoluted.

With so many different portals and people advertising assistance with voter registration, it is hard for the average citizen to figure out the right place to do it. The Secretary of State voter registration webpage vividly outlines that one is not eligible to vote until a physical application has been filled out and mailed — but this information is only helpful if you knew to go to this website in the first place.

Vote.org was not the only bump in the road to Texas voter registration. Certain government sites aimed at helping residents register to vote have been experiencing issues as well. The Texas Secretary of State registration services were down for 24 hours over the weekend, just a few days before registration closed on Oct. 9.

According to the National Conference of State Legislature, 17 states offer same-day registration — this allows the resident to register and cast a vote all in one day. Fifteen out of the 17 states offer this same day registration on Election Day as well. NCSL states there is strong evidence for increased voter turnout when same day and Election Day registration are allowed.

Texas does not offer either of these registration options. Texas is also one of 12 states left that do not offer online voter registration at any time.

One of the reasons Texas is so strict on voting laws is its perceived fear of “voter fraud” — time and time again, impersonation fraud has been proven to be an exaggerated fear not based on fact. The Brennan Center for Justice found that most reported instances of voter fraud can be traced to clerical errors or bad data practices.

One would think in the digital age, someone somewhere could put together a credible, legitimate registration app for the government to expedite and simplify the process — in addition to boosting voter turnout.

Why is there a hard registration deadline at all? What does the Texas government stand to gain from not allowing new voter registrations all the way through the election? Is it really so unfeasible for all Americans to have the option of registering and voting all in one go?

All things considered, one can’t help but get the feeling there is some controlling force that is reluctant to make the voting process as easy and accessible as possible. Whether this constitutes true voter suppression is debatable, but one thing is clear: the powers that be certainly aren’t interested in making the process of voting any less obscure.

Featured Image: Courtesy Facebook

About Author

North Texas Daily

North Texas Daily

The North Texas Daily is the official student newspaper of the University of North Texas, proudly serving UNT and the Denton community since 1916.

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1 Comment

  1. JD
    JD October 11, 08:56

    Misleading headline.

    Reply to this comment

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