SI- Perez v. Perry UOCAVA

Date: 
Friday, January 27, 2012
Document Type: 
Statement of Interest

You may view the statement of interest in pdf format.

 

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS

SAN ANTONIO DIVISION

SHANNON PEREZ, et al., §

§ CIVIL ACTION NO.

Plaintiffs, § SA-11-CA-360-OLG-JES-XR

v. § [Lead case]

§

STATE OF TEXAS, et al., §

§

Defendants. §

____________________________________ §

§

MEXICAN AMERICAN LEGISLATIVE § CIVIL ACTION NO.

CAUCUS, TEXAS HOUSE OF § SA-11-CA-361-OLG-JES-XR

REPRESENTATIVES (MALC), § [Consolidated case]

§

Plaintiffs, §

v. §

§

STATE OF TEXAS, et al., §

§

Defendants. §

___________________________________ §

§

TEXAS LATINO REDISTRICTING TAS § CIVIL ACTION NO.

FORCE, et al., § SA-11-CA-490-OLG-JES-XR

§ [Consolidated case]

Plaintiffs, §

v. §

§

RICK PERRY, §

§

Defendant. §

___________________________________ §

§

MARAGARITA V. QUESADA, et al., § CIVIL ACTION NO.

§ SA-11-CA-592-OLG-JES-XR

Plaintiffs, § [Consolidated case]

v. §

§

RICK PERRY, et al., §

§

Case 5:11-cv-00360-OLG-JES-XR Document 592 Filed 01/27/12 Page 1 of 17 2

Defendants. §

____________________________________ §

JOHN T. MORRIS, § CIVIL ACTION NO.

§ SA-11-CA-615-OLG-JES-XR

Plaintiff, § [Consolidated case]

§

v. §

§

STATE OF TEXAS, et al., §

§

Defendants. §

____________________________________ §

§

EDDIE RODRIGUEZ, et al., § CIVIL ACTION NO.

§ SA-11-CA-635-OLG-JES-XR

Plaintiffs, § [Consolidated case]

§

v. §

§

RICK PERRY, et al., §

§

Defendants. §

______________________________________ §

STATEMENT OF INTEREST OF THE UNITED STATES UNDER THE UNIFORMED AND OVERSEAS CITIZENS ABSENTEE VOTING ACT

The United States files this Statement of Interest pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 517, which authorizes the Attorney General to attend to the interests of the United States in any pending suit.

Among other issues this Court will be considering in the next stage of these proceedings is Texas’ 2012 election schedule. The election calendar implicates important questions related to the state’s ability to comply with the requirements of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act of 1986, ("UOCAVA"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 1973ff to 1973ff-7, as amended by the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act, ("MOVE Act"), Pub. L. No. 111-84, Subtitle H, §§ 575-589, 123 Stat. 2190, 2318-2335 (2009). The Attorney General is charged with the responsibility for the enforcement of UOCAVA, 42 U.S.C. § 1973ff -4, and has a strong

Case 5:11-cv-00360-OLG-JES-XR Document 592 Filed 01/27/12 Page 2 of 17 3

interest in ensuring that the voting rights of military and overseas voters are protected. Accordingly, the United States respectfully requests that the Court factor the requirements of UOCAVA into its consideration of a 2012 election schedule and ensure that the schedule provides sufficient time for Texas to transmit ballots in accordance with UOCAVA’s mandate.

BACKGROUND

On December 16, 2011, this Court entered a scheduling order for the 2012 elections, including setting a primary election for April 3, 2012. (Doc. 563). On December 21, 2011, the Texas Conference of Urban Counties, the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas, and the Texas Association of Counties filed a joint advisory memorandum requesting that this Court hear testimony from county election officials and issue any necessary further orders to enable the counties to comply with the Court’s orders and other laws. (Doc. 565). This filing states that such orders may include "waiving strict compliance with the MOVE Act." On January 23, 2012, following the United States Supreme Court’s remand of this case for further consideration, the Republican Party of Texas (RPT) filed a proposed order regarding the 2012 primary election schedule. (Davis, et al. v. Perry, et al., Civil Action No. SA-11-CA-788-OLG-JES-XR, Doc. 108, 108-1). The RPT has proposed shortening the amount of time that military and overseas voters will have to participate in the election. These proposals conflict with UOCAVA’s explicit requirement that states transmit ballots to the voters protected under the act at least 45 days before a federal election.

DISCUSSION

UOCAVA guarantees active duty members of the uniformed services (and their spouses and dependents) and United States citizens residing overseas the right "to vote by absentee ballot in general, special, primary, and runoff elections for federal office." 42 U.S.C. § 1973ff-1(a)(1).

Case 5:11-cv-00360-OLG-JES-XR Document 592 Filed 01/27/12 Page 3 of 17 4 42 U.S.C. § 1973ff-1(a)(8) ("Each state shall . . . transmit a validly requested absentee ballot to an absent uniformed services voter or overseas voter . . . not later than 45 days before the election."); ("the purpose [of the 45-day requirement] is to allow absent uniformed services voters and overseas voters enough time to vote"); see 156 Cong. Rec. at S4518 (discussing development of 45-day advance transmission requirement based upon evidence before Congress). Case 5:11-cv-00360-OLG-JES-XR Document 592 Filed 01/27/12 Page 4 of 17 5

We urge the Court to reject proposals to the election calendar that will impede compliance with UOCAVA. Shortening the 45-day timeline undermines the purpose of the MOVE Act and presents the real possibility of disenfranchising military and overseas voters.2We note that the United States does not advocate for any particular election date, as long as the schedule adopted enables Texas to transmit ballots in compliance with UOCAVA.

2 To the extent any existing state laws or party regulations impede the ability to ensure ballots are sent by the UOCAVA deadline, they must give way. See Hillsborough Cnty. Canvassing Bd., 123 F. Supp. 2d at 1314 (noting that any state law that conflicts with UOCAVA is preempted and invalid); United States v. Cunningham, No. 08-cv-709, 2009 WL 3350028, at *10 (E.D. Va. Oct. 15, 2009) ("[T]he Commonwealth of Virginia has an obligation under the Supremacy Clause to protect the federally-guaranteed civil right of UOCAVA voters to vote by absentee ballot in federal elections. To the extent that protecting that right conflicts with Virginia law, Virginia law must give way.")

CONCLUSION

Thus, the United States respectfully requests that this Court account for the requirements of UOCAVA in its consideration of Texas’ 2012 election schedule and order a schedule that would allow for ballots to be transmitted 45 days before the elections for federal office. We understand the State of Texas and its officials have important interests in being able to administer an orderly election following the resolution of the claims before the Court and recognize the timing challenges the Court and the parties now face. However, it is essential that Texas’ UOCAVA voters, many of whom are deployed at home and abroad in service to our country, are provided the full opportunity to vote embodied in UOCAVA.

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Date: January 27, 2012

Respectfully submitted,

ROBERT PITTMAN THOMAS E. PEREZ

United States Attorney Assistant Attorney General

Western District of Texas Civil Rights Division

/s/ Jennifer Maranzano T. CHRISTIAN HERREN, JR.

REBECCA WERTZ

ABEL GOMEZ

JAYE SITTON

DC Bar # 453655

JENNIFER MARANZANO

DC Bar # 483420

Attorneys, Voting Section

Civil Rights Division

U.S. Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20530

Telephone: (202) 305-0185

Facsimile: (202) 307-3961

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CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

I hereby certify that a true and correct copy of this filing was sent via the Court’s electronic notification system and/or email to the following counsel of record on January 27, 2012 to:

Via CM/ECF

DAVID RICHARDS

Texas Bar No. 1684600

Richards, Rodriguez & Skeith LLP

816 Congress Avenue, Suite 1200

Austin, TX 78701

512-476-0005

davidr@rrsfirm.com

RICHARD E. GRAY, III

State Bar No. 08328300

Gray & Becker, P.C.

900 West Avenue, Suite 300

Austin, TX 78701

512-482-0061/512-482-0924 (facsimile)

Rick.gray@graybecker.com

JOSE GARZA

Texas Bar No. 07731950

Law Office of Jose Garza

7414 Robin Rest Dr.

San Antonio, Texas 78209

210-392-2856

garzpalm@aol.com

MARK W. KIEHNE

mkiehne@lawdcm.com

RICARDO G. CEDILLO

rcedillo@lawdcm.com

Davis, Cedillo & Mendoza

McCombs Plaza

755 Mulberry Ave., Ste. 500

San Antonio, TX 78212

210-822-6666/210-822-1151 (facsimile)

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GERALD H. GOLDSTEIN

State Bar No. 08101000

ggandh@aol.com

DONALD H. FLANARY, III

State Bar No. 24045877

donflanary@hotmail.com

Goldstein, Goldstein and Hilley

310 S. St. Mary’s Street

29th Floor, Tower Life Bldg.

San Antonio, TX 78205-4605

210-226-1463

210-226-8367 (facsimile)

PAUL M. SMITH

MICHAEL B. DESANCTIS

JESSICA RING AMUNSON

Jenner & Block LLP

1099 New York Ave., NW

Washington, D.C. 20001

202-639-6000

J. GERALD HEBERT

191 Somervelle Street, # 405

Alexandria, VA 22304

703-628-4673

hebert@voterlaw.com

JESSE GAINES

P.O. Box 50093

Fort Worth, TX 76105

817-714-9988

NINA PERALES

Texas Bar No. 24005046

nperales@maldef.org

MARISA BONO

mbono@maldef.org

REBECCA MCNEILL COUTO

rcouto@maldef.org

Mexican American Legal Defense

and Education Fund

110 Broadway, Suite 300

San Antonio, TX 78205

210-224-5476/(210) 224-5382 (facsimile)

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MARK ANTHONY SANCHEZ

masanchez@gws-law.com

ROBERT W. WILSON

rwwilson@gws-law.com

Gale, Wilson & Sanchez, PLLC

115 East Travis Street, Ste. 1900

San Antonio, TX 78205

210-222-8899/210-222-9526 (facsimile)

JOHN T. MORRIS

5703 Caldicote St.

Humble, TX 77346

281-852-6388

MAX RENEA HICKS

Law Office of Max Renea Hicks

101 West Sixth Street Suite 504

Austin, TX 78701

512-480-8231/512-480-9105 (facsimile)

rhicks@renea-hicks.com

LUIS ROBERTO VERA, JR.

Law Offices of Luis Roberto Vera, Jr. &

Associates

1325 Riverview Towers

111 Soledad

San Antonio, Texas 78205-2260

210-225-3300

lrvlaw@sbcglobal.net

GEORGE JOSEPH KORBEL

Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, Inc.

1111 North Main

San Antonio, TX 78213

210-212-3600

korbellaw@hotmail.com

ROLANDO L. RIOS

Law Offices of Rolando L. Rios

115 E Travis Street

Suite 1645

San Antonio, TX 78205

210-222-2102

rrios@rolandorioslaw.com

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GARY L. BLEDSOE

State Bar No.: 02476500

Law office of Gary L. Bledsoe

316 W. 12th Street, Ste. 307

Austin, TX 78701

512-322-9992/512-322-0840 (facsimile)

garybledsoe@sbcglobal.net

STEPHEN E. MCCONNICO

smcconnico@scottdoug.com

SAM JOHNSON

sjohnson@scottdoug.com

S. ABRAHAM KUCZAJ, III

akuczaj@scottdoug.com

Scott, Douglass & McConnico

One American Center

600 Congress Ave., 15th Floor

Austin, TX 78701

512-495-6300/512-474-0731 (facsimile)

CHAD W. DUNN

chad@brazilanddunn.com

K. SCOTT BRAZIL

scott@brazilanddunn.com

Brazil & Dunn

4201 FM 1960 West, Suite 530

Houston, TX 77068

281-580-6310/281-580-6362 (facsimile)

VICTOR L. GOODE

Asst. Gen. Counsel, NAACP

4805 Mt. Hope Drive

Baltimore, MD 21215-5120

410-580-5120/410-358-9359 (facsimile)

vgoode@naacpnet.org

ROBERT NOTZON

State Bar No. 00797934

Law Office of Robert S. Notzon

1507 Nueces Street

Austin, TX 78701

512-474-7563/512-474-9489 (facsimile)

robert@notzonlaw.com

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ALLISON JEAN RIGGS

ANITA SUE EARLS

Southern Coalition for Social Justice

1415 West Highway 54, Ste. 101

Durham, NC 27707

919-323-3380/919-323-3942 (facsimile)

anita@southerncoalition.org

DONNA GARCIA DAVIDSON

PO Box 12131

Austin, TX 78711

(512) 775-7625/(877) 200-6001 (facsimile)

donna@dgdlawfirm.com

FRANK M. REILLY

Potts & Reilly, L.L.P.

P.O. Box 4037

Horseshoe Bay, TX 78657

512-469-7474/512-469-7480 (facsimile)

reilly@pottsreilly.com

DAVID SCHENCK

david.schenck@oag.state.tx.us

MATTHEW FREDERICK

matthew.frederick@oag.state.tx.us

ANGELA V. COLMENERO

angela.colmenero@oag.state.tx.us;

ANA M. JORDAN

ana.jordan@oag.state.tx.us;

DAVID MATTAX

david.mattax@oag.state.tx.us; PO Box 12548, Capitol Station

Austin TX 78711-2548

(512) 936-1342

JOHN K. TANNER

John Tanner Law Office

3743 Military Rd. NW

Washington, DC 20015

Phone: (202)503-7696

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NED BENNET SANDLIN

Executive Director

Texas Municipal League

1821 Rutherford Lane

Suite 400

Austin, TX 78754-5128

Phone: (512)231-7400

Fax: (512)231-7490 Email: bennett@tml.org

Updated February 2, 2017