Texas Democrats filed a federal lawsuit on Monday challenging the state’s voter registration requirement that bans applications with electronic signatures.
The filing, made by the Texas Democratic Party alongside the national Democratic campaign organizations for the US Senate and House, argues that the state is violating federal and state law by rejecting voter registrations without original or “wet” signatures.
Texas voting law requires registration applications include handwritten signatures that cannot be a copy, digital or photograph of a signature, according to the Houston Chronicle. In October 2018, over 2,400 online voter registrations were rejected under the “wet signature rule.”
However, the Chronicle noted that Texas election law is not clear as to whether a handwritten signature is necessary, but states that voter registration be “submitted by personal delivery, by mail, or by telephonic facsimile machine” and must be “in writing and signed by the applicant.”
“Republicans know Texas is changing, that’s why they continue to enact arbitrary rulings such as banning lawful electronic signatures,” said Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa.
The lawsuit also cites the increased accessibility electronic signatures provide to voters looking to register. Hinojosa said in a statement that the wet signature rule disproportionately “harms rural voters who don’t have access to regular mail service.”
According to Texas Democrats spokesman Abhi Rahman, the case will not be before a judge until later this summer.
“States should be working to make voting more accessible, not less,” said Democratic Rep. Cheri Bustos of Illinois.
“This unconstitutional ban does not make an ounce of sense, and it is the kind of arbitrary voter suppression that we’re working to tear down right now before even more harm is done to our democracy,” she added.