LULAC Sues Harris County Over Tainted Voter Rolls

LULAC, the League of United Latin American citizens and a number of Houston residents have filed a federal lawsuit against the Harris County voter registrar Don Sumners. The suit alleges the county knowingly rejects more voter registration applications than other counties in Texas.

LULAC claims in its lawsuit that Harris County wrongly rejects voter applications through discriminatory practices against Latino and African American applicants.

San Antonio civil rights attorney Luis Vera is LULAC’s national general counsel. He says the suit alleges Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector and Voter Registrar Don Sumners has not followed the terms of a 2008 lawsuit brought against the county regarding voter registration.

“Mr. Sumners came in in 2010, and totally cast aside that agreement. He has purged thousands and thousands of registered voters. But when you look at what’s been purged, he has targeted specific zip codes, wherein Latino and Black communities make up the vast majority of population and registered voters in those zip code areas.”

The suit also claims minorities were disproportionately impacted by a recent effort by the Sumner’s office and the direction of the Secretary of State, to purge presumed dead voters from the rolls using Social Security data. Vera adds Hispanics who have problems trying to vote should request a provisional ballot.

“The election judge there must give you a ballot to vote, and then they have ten days to prove that you in fact, are not eligible to vote. So that gives you an opportunity to cast your vote, and then an opportunity to be counted, because they have to prove that you in fact, are not eligible to vote.”

Updated at 7:30 p.m.: Harris County Registrar Don Sumners issued a statement late today. He called the suit politically motivated and lacking in merit. Below is the full statement: