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League of Women voters threatens to sue Secretary of State for not providing voter registration cards

The Houston League of women voters was having a hard time getting voter registration applications from the Secretary of State. But the State has now sent them forms.

HOUSTON — The Houston chapter of the League of Women Voters was having a hard time getting voter registration applications from the Secretary of State.

In one instance, the state told them they had to print their own forms. On Friday, they threatened to sue for alleged violations of the National Voter Registration Act. Saturday the league says they’ve started to receive some shipments.

This all started back in September when the local league requested 16,000 voter registration applications and for months, they received nothing.

"This is a huge election year here in the state of Texas, got a huge primary going up with lots of candidates as well as a large election in November," said Dr. Annie Johnson Benifield, the president of the League of Women Voters of Houston.  

With a busy election year ahead, the Houston League of Women voters wanted to make sure they had enough voter registration applications for the coming months. Each month they say they provide at least 3,500 to newly sworn citizens.

"Since it was a record turnout in 2020 we want to get as many registered so they can participate in the political process," said Benifield. 

But after not getting what they requested back in September, they began to worry. And contacted the Secretary of State again.

"They told us that it was a paper shortage, we needed to get a donor. They couldn’t continue to subsidize us," said Benifield. "I mean we were shocked we actually started going out to printers and requesting quotes to find out how much it was going to cost us."

Friday, the League of Women’s Voters sent a letter to the Secretary of State threatening to sue because they were in violation of the National Voter Registration Act. Each state is required to supply voter registration applications.

Congressman Al Green says this is a form of suppression by the state.

"Just when you think that Texas has done just about all that it can to suppress the vote," said Congressman Al Green. "Are we to believe that the state of Texas can't afford to buy paper for persons to use for registration purposes. I don’t think so." 

In an email, a spokesperson for the secretary of state said the shipments were delayed due to supply chain issues that many printers are experiencing right now.  As of Thursday, they provided 7,000 voter registration forms to the Houston chapter. This afternoon they sent them an initial shipment of 1,000 forms. They say they have more forms coming next week. They hope to provide 75% requests to all chapters across the state. 

Just after talking with the league, they confirmed they received a large chunk of voter registration applications. So far they have received a total of 10,000 voter registration applications within the last two days.

KHOU 11 did reach out to U.S. Representative Dan Crenshaw And Representative Troy Nehls but have not heard back from them. We will update you when we do.

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