The Texas secretary of state’s office claimed this week that there is not enough paper to print voter registration cards, The Texas Tribune reports.
Sam Taylor, a spokesman for the office, blamed supply chain issues for making it more difficult and expensive to buy paper.
“We are limited in what we can supply this year, because of the paper shortage and the cost constraints due to the price of paper and the supply of paper,” he said.
Taylor said the office has been forced to limit each voting registration group to 1,000 to 2,000 forms per request.
There has been an influx of requests after Texas lawmakers changed voter registration laws last year.
“The voter registration application changed this year for one reason: It’s because the legislature decided to increase the penalty for illegal voter registration from a class B misdemeanor to a class A misdemeanor,” Taylor said.
“While we have made clear to officials and groups that they should not be distributing the old version of the Voter Registration form, county voter registrars may accept completed voter registration applications on the old form, so long as the application is otherwise valid,” he added. “In other words, using last year’s form in and of itself is not fatal to the voter’s registration application.”
Naturalized citizens affected:
Grace Chimene, the president of the League of Women Voters of Texas, told the Tribune that it is not unusual for the secretary of state’s office to fill all of their requests but the shortage is impacting thousands of newly naturalized citizens.
“The League in Houston registers about 30,000 new citizens every year through these ceremonies in the past,” she said. “It’s a really important job that we do and we value it, and I think the new citizens value it also.”
Taylor said that groups that get forms from the office would not be given additional forms as a result of their work.
“We are treating all organizations that request these the same,” Taylor said. “We are trying to fulfill these requests as fast we can. But the fact is we simply don’t have the supply to honor every single request for free applications.”
Calls for online voter registration:
Texas is one of few states that does not offer online voter registration.
Advocates argue that allowing voters to register online would eliminate any supply chain issues.
Chimene said she is also concerned that the lack of forms for new citizens means the government isn’t performing a basic function.
“We are concerned about it, and we are looking into it,” Chimene said. “It just sort all goes together: not providing the service they are supposed be providing to the citizens of Texas.”