Washington, D.C. (March 28, 2014) — The American Civil Rights Union (ACRU) filed suit in U.S. District Court in Del Rio on Thursday against another Texas county for having more registered voters than age-eligible residents. The suit against Zavala County marks the second legal action following the ACRU’s notifying 15 Texas counties last September that they are in violation of Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (Motor Voter Law).
On Jan. 27, the ACRU sued Terrell County, where more than 121 percent of citizens aged 18 and over were registered to vote in 2013.
In the Zavala complaint filed on March 27 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Del Rio Division, the ACRU alleges that:
“Currently, 8,623 are registered to vote in Zavala County when only 8,205 age-eligible citizens live in Zavala County. This represents an implausible registration rate of 105 percent.”
The suit notes that Zavala’s disproportionate number of registered voters has been worsening since 2008, and that the ACRU has sent multiple letters and has been in discussions with county officials for the past seven months.
The lawsuit, filed by former Justice Department Voting Section attorney J. Christian Adams, former DOJ Voting Section chief H. Christopher Coates and Texas attorney Eric Bayne on behalf of ACRU’s Texas constituents, cites Zavala for failure to conduct voter list maintenance and failure to produce records and data for public inspection.
“The failure of the Defendant to comply with its obligations under federal voter registration laws has undermined the confidence of Texas’ properly registered voters in the integrity of the voter registration rolls and, accordingly, in the integrity of elections held across the State of Texas,” the complaint states.
Last fall, the ACRU filed suits against two Mississippi counties — Walthall and Jefferson Davis — and got consent decrees in federal court stipulating that those counties will clean up their voter roll process. It was the first time a private party had successfully sued at the county level under the Motor Voter law. The Zavala case represents the fourth private enforcement action filed by the ACRU.
“We hope that the Zavala suit will result in giving the people of Texas more confidence in their election process,” said ACRU Chairman Susan A. Carleson. “There are more than 200 other counties around the nation that have similarly inflated voter rolls. It would be good if they do the right thing and clean them up before more litigation is needed.”