WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, a federal court in Texas denied a motion to dismiss Vote.org v. Callanen, a case challenging Texas’ “wet signature” law. This law, House Bill 3107, requires individuals who submit their registration applications electronically or through fax to provide a copy of their application with their original signature signed with pen on paper — also known as a “wet-ink signature.” Vote.org filed a lawsuit against this law in July. One of the defendants, an elections administrator in Cameron County, sought to dismiss the case by arguing that Vote.org did not have standing to sue him. The court disagreed, finding that Vote.org had sufficiently demonstrated standing by showing it suffered an injury due to this law: the “the additional time, effort, and money expended to ‘redesign its Texas voter registration programs.’” Therefore, the court found that Vote.org has standing to sue the Cameron County elections administrator and denied his motion to dismiss. The case will move forward against all defendants.
Vote.org argues that the “wet signature” law violates the First and 14th Amendments as well as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 because it places an arbitrary barrier to vote for voters who rely on online registration and creates an unnecessary “logistical hurdle” for voters: they must own a printer to print and sign their application, or wait for local officials or a third-party organization to provide them with a physical application, and have access to reliable mail service to submit their applications. They also argue that the law similarly burdens private organizations, such as Vote.org, in their efforts to increase voter participation via accessible and easy-to-use online applications. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) and two counties, Medina and Real, filed motions to intervene in the case, which remain pending.