15 Jun RELEASE: New TCRP report finds significant voting problems in Texas’ 2016 election cycle
For Immediate Release
Thursday, June 15, 2017
Contact: Melissa Martinez
RELEASE: New TCRP report finds significant voting problems in Texas’ 2016 election cycle
Austin, TX — Voters in Texas’ November 2016 election faced significant issues with confusion about the state’s photo ID law, polling location changes, long lines, voter intimidation, and problems with voter registration, according to a new Texas Civil Rights Project report.
TCRP’s report analyzes thousands of data points collected from the 2016 Texas Election Protection Coalition, led by TCRP, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Texas Organizing Project Education Fund, and Texas Common Cause, as well as provisional ballot data for five of Texas’ most populous counties.
Additionally, the report highlights anecdotal evidence collected by the hundreds of volunteers staffing the Texas Election Protection Coalition, such as the following:
- Problems with voter registration: Hundreds of callers could not be found on Texas’ voter rolls due to slight discrepancies in names or addresses. In many instances, the voters had to call the county directly to determine whether they were registered, adding an extra step to the voting process.
- Confusion over photo ID: In Harris County, a man who did not possess a photo ID brought his voter registration card and a utility bill to the polls. Poll workers initially turned this man away without the opportunity to sign a reasonable impediment declaration, but an Election Protection volunteer accompanied the voter back to the polls, where he was able to cast a ballot.
- Long lines: On Election Day, voters at Prairie View A&M University, a historically black university northwest of Houston with a horrible history of voter suppression by local officials, had to wait in excess of three hours in order to cast a ballot.
Within the report are proposed policy changes and continued legal and advocacy efforts to keep the momentum and change the culture of civic engagement and voting rights in Texas. Last year, TCRP launched its new Voting Rights Program to tackle the systemic barriers to fair and accessible elections highlighted in this report.
Beth Stevens, Voting Rights Director at the Texas Civil Rights Project, said:
“The 2016 election cycle was a pivotal moment for democracy in our state, we saw an increase of over 800,000 Texas voters as compared to 2008 or 2012. Texas officials had an even bigger responsibility to ensure that all eligible voters could cast a ballot that counts.”
“Unfortunately, throughout the state, voters faced numerous obstacles that complicated the process. Through our Election Protection Coalition, we heard directly from thousands of voters about the barriers they faced in our electoral system.”
“Our new report comprehensively analyzes the 2016 election to provide a broad look at the entrenched electoral problems in Texas. From the discriminatory photo ID law to the numerous issues with voter registration, Texans deserved better.”
“With this new report, however, we will double down on our efforts to turn the tide on Texas’ abysmal voting rights record and arm everyone who cherishes our democracy with the information they need to take back the vote through litigation, advocacy, and additional election protection.”