A handful of state lawmakers want the Texas Department of Public Safety to allow you to register vote when getting a driver’s license or ID card, or when updating information, at the DMV.
Right now, the so-called “motor voter” system works a little differently, depending on whether you do any of this in-person versus online. However, there have been a couple of bills filed for the upcoming legislative session aimed at changing that.
“I didn’t realize they had filed similar bills,” says Democratic State Senator Carlos Uresti from San Antonio, one of the bills’ sponsors. “Generally, we get together and try to co-sponsor bills, but it’s such an important issue. I guess that’s why they filed the bills, as I did.”
Democratic Senators Jose Menendez and Sylvia Garcia also filed one of these bills.
Uresti says he’s heard too many stories where people change their address online and think they are registered – just to find out at the polls that they aren’t.
“We have a very mobile constituency and they think when they update their drivers’ license that they are doing that as well,” he explained. “And it can’t be that complicated for us to make sure that the system that DPS uses is updating that information.”
There was a lawsuit filed in Texas several months ago over this very issue. The Texas Civil Rights project is representing voters who say the state is violating the National Voter Registration Act because DPS treats in-person costumers differently than folks online.