Your vote is your voice — and Waters & Kraus is fighting to protect it.
Voter suppression has a long and ugly history in the United States, from poll taxes and literacy tests to outright bans on certain groups from voting. While voter disenfranchisement today may not be quite as overt, we still have to work hard to protect voter’s rights.
Waters & Kraus is committed to fighting for voters’ rights. We have a proud legacy of aggressively challenging in court those tactics and obstacles that attempt to limit voter participation. We believe that every American should have their voice heard by exercising their fundamental right as citizens to participate in free and fair elections without hardship or hindrance.
Here are some of the top news headlines about voter legislation and voting rights involving our firm:
Texas in Violation of Voting Registration Law
For a second time, a federal judge has ruled that Texas continues to violate the federal voter registration law by failing to allow residents to register to vote or update their voter information when they update their driver’s license information online. In August 2020, Chief Judge Orlando Garcia of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas ordered Texas to comply with the National Voter Registration Act and the U.S. Constitution and establish a state Department of Public Safety system that treats each online driver’s license renewal or change-of-address application as a simultaneous application for voter registration. Texas was first put on notice in 2015 that it was violating federal law by prohibiting residents from registering to vote when they updated their driver’s license information online.
Texas Called Out for Continuing to Violate the Federal Voter Law
Voters along with civil and voter rights advocates, including Waters & Kraus, put the state of Texas on notice in December 2019 about continued violations of Section 5 of the National Voter Registration Act, also known as the federal “motor voter” law. The NVRA requires that the state’s online driver license applications also simultaneously register or update the voter registration for eligible users who wish to register. After the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed an earlier ruling, claiming that the plaintiffs had not shown they were likely to be injured again, one of the plaintiffs updated his driver’s license online, but remained unregistered to vote, prompting the action from civil and voting rights advocates.
Lawsuit Seeks to Restore Voting Rights of Mississippi’s African-American Voters
Waters & Kraus and civil rights lawyers sued Mississippi in federal court in July 2018, claiming that a state Senate district violated federal law by denying Black voters the opportunity to elect candidates of their choice. Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act prevents states from drawing political districts to dilute minorities’ voting strength. The suit claimed that the boundary lines of District 22 did just that. While District 22 has a Black population of more than 50% who are of voting age, a white conservative candidate consistently won elections over his Black opponents since 2003.
Federal Court Denies Texas’ Motion to Dismiss “Motor Voter” Case
Chief Judge Orlando Garcia of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas denied the state’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging Texas’ voter registration practices. The judge’s opinion, issued in April 2017, rejected every argument made by the state of Texas and held that the “motor voter” law applied to online driver’s license transactions. Waters & Kraus, along with the Texas Civil Rights Project, argued that failures in the state’s registration process have removed countless eligible voters from Texas voter rolls.
Awards are Nice. But Ensuring Every Texan Gets to Vote is the Biggest Reward
The Texas Civil Rights Project honored four Water Kraus & Paul lawyers at the 26th Annual Bill of Rights dinner on November 10, 2016, for their efforts to make sure that every person in the state who is eligible to vote and wants to do so is able to exercise their constitutional right. Honored with the prestigious 2016 Kristi Couvillon Award were Peter A. Kraus, Caitlyn Silhan, Charles S. Siegel, and Rachel A. Gross. Waters & Kraus partnered with Battleground Texas to sue the state for refusing to register eligible voters who updated their information through the state Department of Public Safety website.
About Waters & Kraus, LLP
Waters & Kraus is a national plaintiffs’ law firm devoted to helping families in personal injury and wrongful death cases involving asbestos and mesothelioma, benzene exposure, dangerous pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and birth defects caused by pesticides, toxic chemicals, opioid use, and semiconductor chip manufacturing. The law firm also represents plaintiffs in qui tam whistleblower matters in cases that uncover false claims submitted to the government. Based in Dallas, Texas, with offices in Los Angeles, California, and by appointment in Moline, Illinois, Waters & Kraus has represented families from all fifty states and many foreign countries, as well as foreign governments.
Waters Kraus & Paul is the West Coast practice of Waters & Kraus, LLP, a national plaintiffs’ law firm.