Attorney General Ken Paxton today released a statement in response to an order from the U.S. District Court of San Antonio that deprives state and county election officials of the capacity to faithfully execute their duties under state and federal law to maintain voting rolls. The Court heard evidence and arguments in this case on February 19, 20 and 25.
“Today’s ruling involves a federal district court improperly assuming control over key aspects of the State’s obligation under federal and state law to maintain the integrity of its voter rolls,” Attorney General Paxton said. “While we appreciate the court’s acknowledgment that the Secretary of State took his actions in good faith, no state official violated any applicable law and there is no need for a federal court takeover of state activities. We are weighing our options to address this ruling and to continue making our case that ineligible voters should not vote and counties are free to continue to follow the law and keep their voter rolls clean.”
The Court recognized that there is “unanimity among the parties, counsel and the Court that non-American citizens are ineligible to vote” and the Court found the Secretary of State’s efforts to identify non-citizen voters were undertaken in good faith. However, the order today prevents county election officials from directly communicating with individual voters about their citizenship, and prevents those officials from discharging their duty to remove ineligible voters from the voting rolls for any reason without first obtaining the Court’s permission. The Court also directed the Secretary of State to instruct counties that they may not send notice of examination letters to voters or remove ineligible voters from the rolls without prior Court approval.
While the Court refused to dismiss any of the claims against the State, the Court denied the request for preliminary injunction against the attorney general, correctly finding that it could not enjoin the attorney general for engaging in First Amendment protected speech.
View a copy of the order here.