5th Circuit Upholds Strict Residency Requirements for Voter Registration in Texas
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Wednesday, Oct. 26, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court’s opinion that struck down strict residency requirements for voter registration in Texas’ Senate Bill 1111, thereby reinstating the law in full. The challenged provisions of S.B. 1111 — which prohibit voters from registering to vote using a prior address after they moved, ban voters from registering to vote where they do not live full time and create stricter ID requirements for those registering to vote using a P.O. box — were blocked by the federal district court for violating the First and 14th Amendments. Multiple Texas officials, including Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), appealed this decision to the 5th Circuit, which reversed the lower court’s decision today. In their appeal, the officials argued that the two organizations that filed the lawsuit — Texas State League of United Latin American Citizens and Voto Latino — lack standing (meaning capacity to bring a lawsuit in court) to sue over S.B. 1111.
After holding oral argument on Oct. 6, the 5th Circuit agreed that the organizations lack standing because they failed to show that they had to divert resources as a result of S.B. 1111 and did not prove that any of their activities are restricted under the law. This decision reverses the district court’s order and dismisses the plaintiffs’ claims, keeping S.B. 1111 in effect in Texas and imposing strict residency requirements for voter registration in the state in future election cycles. The deadline to register to vote in Texas has already passed for this fall’s midterm elections, but voters can learn more about how to cast their ballots here.