WASHINGTON, D.C. — On July 8, Vote.org sued various Texas counties over the state’s newly enacted law, House Bill 3107, that limits online voter registration efforts. H.B. 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.” This law, the lawsuit points out, contradicts the state’s ongoing practice of accepting electronic signatures on registration applications submitted through state agencies and directly targets groups such as Vote.org that provide online registration applications to expand voter registration and turnout.
The “wet signature” rule, the complaint argues, places an arbitrary barrier for voters who rely on online registration and instead places 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. The law also burdens private organizations, such as Vote.org, in their efforts to increase voter participation via accessible and easy-to-use online applications. The lawsuit alleges that H.B. 3107 unduly burdens the right to vote in violation of the First and 14th Amendments as well as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and asks the court to prohibit its enforcement.