Texas Judge Blocks Wet Signature Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, a federal judge issued a permanent injunction blocking Texas’s “wet signature” law, House Bill 3107, which limited online voter registration opportunities. Last summer, Vote.org sued multiple Texas counties over the law, which required individuals who submitted their registration applications through a “telephonic facsimile machine” (including a smartphone application or fax machine) to provide a copy of their application with their original signature signed with pen on paper — also known as a “wet-ink signature.” The organization sought to block the law by arguing that it created an arbitrary and unnecessary barrier for voters in violation of the First and 14th Amendments and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

This spring, both the plaintiff and defendants filed motions for summary judgment asking the judge to rule on their respective claims after presenting evidence in favor of their arguments. In the opinion released today, the federal judge granted Vote.org’s motion and issued a permanent injunction blocking H.B. 3107 from remaining in effect. The judge found that the provision of the law that mandates that “a copy of the original registration application containing the voter’s original signature must be submitted by personal delivery or mail” imposes an unnecessary burden on voters that “is not material to determin[ing] whether a registrant is qualified to vote.” The judge denied the defendants’ motion for summary judgment, rejecting claims that the law was necessary to prevent voter fraud and serve state interests. Due to the facts presented by Vote.org, the judge held it was necessary to permanently block the wet signature requirement since it violates the First and 14th Amendments and the Civil Rights Act. 

Read the opinion here.

Learn more about the case here.