In 2021, Texas passed commonsense reforms designed to ensure the integrity of Texas elections. Among those reforms was a state requirement that voter registration applications contain an original signature to assist in verifying the identity and qualifications of the person registering to vote.
Almost immediately, this modest requirement was challenged by a non-profit organization that had developed a web app that purported to allow Texans to register to vote online. The plaintiff claimed the original signature requirement burdened the right to vote in violation of the Civil Rights Act and the Constitution. Along with the Texas Attorney General, the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s attorneys have spent the last two years defending the law in court.
Last week, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that the signature requirement was constitutional. The Fifth Circuit explained that requiring voters to physically sign registration forms—which list the qualifications for voting and threaten penalties for perjury by the signature line—can dissuade false statements and help Texas determine if a voter is qualified to vote.
“This is the right result,” said TPPF Senior Attorney Autumn Hamit Patterson. “The Fifth Circuit correctly recognized that states have a substantial interest in election integrity and that an original signature requirement is a legitimate way to advance that interest.”
“This law is not only important, but it also received widespread, bipartisan support,” added TPPF Attorney, Clayton Calvin. “Texans should celebrate that it will remain in effect.”
To read the opinion, click here.