Judge deliberating Texas voter registration law

August 8, 2012 5:26:24 PM PDT
Galveston is ground zero in a battle over who can help register residents to vote, and a hearing Wednesday could set a precedent for the entire state.

This year, Texas is ground zero across the country for these voting issues. We know that the state is in a huge fight with Washington, D.C. over needing a photo ID to vote. In Galveston, it's a question of who can help you register.

In most counties, it's the tax assessor-collector who maintains those voter registration cards you fill out. A new state law this year said charities that hold voter registration drives had to hand deliver all those cards instead of mailing them in. And the law said the people working those charities had to be local citizens, no out-of-county volunteers.

The also forbids charities from making copies of those registration cards. They can write all the information down to maintain a database but they can't copy or scan them.

Well last week, a federal judge in Galveston said that's not legal and put the new Texas law on hold for everyone in the state.

For two hours on Wednesday, the state's attorney general office pleaded with judge to turn his decision over. He didn't seem inclined to do so but it'll take a day or two before he makes a ruling.

On Wednesday, on the way out of the hearing, we wanted to talk to Keith Ingram, the secretary of state's director of elections No one knows the issues better than him but he wasn't talking.

"You're the director of elections, right?" we asked Ingram.

"Right," he replied.

"So you do know more about the law than your spokesman, right?" we asked.

"You're going to talk to my spokesman," he said.

"You just won't talk to us about it," we said.

"They have consistently the lowest voter turnout of all the states. Something's gotta be done about it," attorney for Project Vote Chad Dunn said. "Our legislature doesn't look for solutions to that problem, they look for more obstacles for the ballot box."


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