A federal judge in Texas ruled Friday that the state was violating federal law by not allowing Texans to register to vote when renewing their driver’s license online.
In a lengthy 68-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia concluded that the state’s restriction was breaking the National Voter Registration Act, which mandates that states must allow residents to register to vote when applying for or renewing their driver’s licenses.
The state’s Department of Safety (DPS) follows the federal law when Texans go in-person to a driver’s license office. But, when residents go through the state’s online portal to register to vote, they are directed to a blank form that must be printed, filled out and then mailed to their county registrar.
“DPS encourages Texans to use its online services to renew their driver’s license and change their address because it is easier and more convenient,” Garcia, a Clinton appointee, wrote. “It cannot, at the same time, deny simultaneous voter registration applications when those online services are used.”