Author Topic: Federal Court Upholds Texas Election Security Law Requiring ‘Wet’ Signatures  (Read 435 times)

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Texas Scorecard by  Erin Anderson   | January 2, 2024

The Fifth Circuit determined that an original signature attesting to the truth of information provided on a voter registration application is “a material requirement.”

Texas can continue requiring original “wet” signatures on voter registration applications after a federal court shot down claims by Democrat attorneys that the bipartisan election security measure was unconstitutional and violated civil rights laws.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last month that requiring applicants to physically sign voter registration forms, creating a “wet” signature instead of simply an electronic signature, fulfills a legitimate state interest in secure elections and does not unduly burden the right to vote.

“Texas’s interest in voter integrity is substantial,” the judges wrote, adding that the state’s interest “relates to the qualifications to vote—are the registrants who they claim to be?”

Because the state’s application form includes the qualifications for voting and penalties for perjury next to the signature line, the court determined that an original signature attesting to the truth of the information provided is “a material requirement.”

“The Fifth Circuit correctly recognized that states have a substantial interest in election integrity and that an original signature requirement is a legitimate way to advance that interest,” said Autumn Hamit Patterson, an attorney with the Texas Public Policy Foundation who helped defend the law in court.

State legislators passed the election law in 2021 with near-unanimous bipartisan support.

The law clarified that applicants who submit a voter registration form by fax must also mail a paper application to their county voter registrar that contains “the voter’s original signature.”