A September court ruling allowing Texans to register to vote online when updating their driver’s license has now led over half a million to register to vote in the state, according to the advocacy group MOVE Texas—a milestone that voting rights advocates hope will lead to the adoption of a broad online voter registration system in Texas, which is by far the largest state not allowing all voters to register online.
A voter exits a polling location at the American Airlines Center on November 3, 2020, in Dallas.
A judge ruled in September the state had to start allowing residents to add their names to voter rolls when updating driver’s license information after MOVE Texas and the Texas Civil Rights Project sued, marking the first time online voter registration was allowed at all in Texas.
The lawsuit successfully argued the National Voter Registration Act (also called the “motor voter law”), which requires states to let residents register to vote when applying for or renewing a driver’s license, should also apply if that process is online.
Texas is one of just nine states that either don’t have broad availability for online voter registration or plans in place to set one up.
Texas Democrats praised the milestone, with state Democratic Party Chief Strategy Officer Luke Warford telling Forbes the amount of registrants “is clear evidence that Texans are eager to participate in our democracy” and calling on the state to push for online voter registration and automatic voter registration.
The Republican Party of Texas did not respond to a request for comment from Forbes.
“This is a game changer that will continue to remake the Texas electorate,” MOVE Texas Executive Director H. Drew Galloway told Forbes.
Voter registration efforts in Texas ramped up as part of a massive push by liberal groups ahead of the 2020 presidential election, which they hoped would propel Democrats to victory across the state. One “unprecedented” voter blitz by the state Democratic Party in late August and early September managed to contact more than 1 million unregistered voters. Democrats were further encouraged by record early voter turnout and favorable polling, but the election results were extremely disappointing, given the efforts. Still, former President Donald Trump won the state over President Joe Biden by nearly 6 percentage points, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) beat his Democratic challenger by almost 10 points, and Democrats failed to take the state House from Republicans.
96%. That’s the percentage of Texans who are eligible for a driver’s license that have one, according to The Texas Tribune.
The political makeup of those who registered to vote, since Texas doesn’t register voters by party.
Texas begins letting people register to vote online when they’re updating their driver’s licenses (The Texas Tribune)
Texas Democrats Claim ‘Unprecedented’ 1 Million Voter Registration Blitz, Where Trump And Biden Stay Close In Polls (Forbes)
Texas Leads Nation In Early Voting At 8.5 Million Cast – 94% Of 2016 Turnout (Forbes)
Biden Now Leads Trump In Texas, Poll Finds (Forbes)
I’m a New Orleans-based news reporter for Forbes covering the U.S. South and breaking news. Previously, I wrote for The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate covering