GALVESTON (AP) — A federal appeals court has overturned a lower-court ruling that blocked Texas from enforcing new restrictions on volunteer voter registrars.
By a 2-1 vote, a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that there was insufficient evidence that First Amendment rights to free speech were being violated or that the laws were pre-empted by the federal “motor voter” law.
A year ago, U.S. District Judge Gregg Costa of Galveston had blocked enforcement of five provisions of the new voter registration laws. A national non-partisan group Voting for America had argued the laws made it harder to register voters.
The group complained that the new laws unconstitutionally restrict voter registration drives from gathering public voter information, handing out voter registration cards and collecting completed forms.
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