News Column

LULAC Sues County Over Voter Registration Rejections

Oct. 12, 2012

Mike Morris

The League of United Latin American Citizens and seven citizens sued Harris County and Tax Assessor-Collector Don Sumners on Thursday, alleging the county rejects more voter registration applications than other Texas counties, and rejected a greater share of blacks and Latinos from 2009 to this year.

The suit alleges the county has violated the Voting Rights Act, the National Voter Registration Act and the plaintiffs' Constitutional rights, and claims Sumners' office has not followed the terms of a 2009 settlement of a previous lawsuit brought against the county's voter registration processes by the Democratic Party.

The suit also claims minorities were disproportionately impacted by a recent effort by Sumners' office, at the direction of the Secretary of State, to purge presumed dead voters from the rolls using Social Security Administration data. Sumners has announced he will delay that purge until after the Nov. 6 election.

"We're going to study it carefully and follow the law in all respects," said First Assistant County Attorney Terry O'Rourke. "The allegations are serious, obviously. We have put together a team already with lawyers in Washington, D.C., Austin, Texas, and Houston to provide a highly professional review of all the allegations."

Fred King, spokesman for Sumners, said he is preparing a response to the lawsuit.



Source: (c)2012 the Houston Chronicle. Distributed by MCT Information Services.