LDF Pens Letter to Texas Secretary of State Urging Protection of Voters after Hurricane Harvey
Today, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) sent a letter to Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos urging him to prevent the disenfranchisement of eligible Texas voters who, due to Hurricane Harvey, lack the transportation and resources necessary to vote. Because of the devastating impact of the storm, upwards of 834,800 people in Texas have registered for FEMA support, over 60,000 Texans remain displaced and roughly 500,000 cars have been damaged or destroyed. For these reasons, many otherwise eligible voters no longer possess the identification required under Texas’s voter identification law – a law that LDF is currently challenging in federal court. The racially disparate impact of the photo ID law has only been exacerbated since the storm as Black and Latino Texans are more likely to have lost their IDs in its wake. As a result, it will be difficult for many voters to reach their assigned polling sites on Election Day and/or register to vote by the October 10, 2017 deadline.
LDF urges Secretary of State Pablos to take immediate action by allowing voters to vote in locations other than their assigned precincts, providing Texans from affected areas more time to register and to update their voter registration information, and informing election officials and voters that the natural disaster provision extends through December 4, which encompasses the November 7 election. If no action is taken, substantial burdens on voters’ ability to participate in upcoming elections are likely to violate the United States Constitution as well as Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
This letter was sent on behalf of the Texas State Conference of the NAACP, the Texas Organizing Project Education Fund, the Texas Civil Rights Project, and Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis, Fort Bend County Commissioner Grady Prestage, and Jefferson County Commissioner Everette Alfred. Read it in full here.
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Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.