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Texas Halts Review of Voter Rolls in Lawsuit Settlement

Texas will pay $450,000 in costs and legal fees as part of a settlement reached with civil rights groups, which sued the state following its botched review of the citizenship status of those on its voter rolls.

In January, the state released a list of nearly 100,000 registered voters that the secretary of state's office considered to be potential noncitizens, of which 58,000 were said to have voted illegally in one or more elections. The review was part of an attempt to purge those registered voters from its rolls.

Election officials later backtracked on the data, admitting at least 20,000 people flagged as noncitizens were naturalized citizens. As part of the settlement, state election officials agreed to end their search of noncitizen registered voters and the planned purge of its voter rolls.

"After months of litigation, the state has finally agreed to do what we've demanded from the start — a complete withdrawal of the flawed and discriminatory voter purge list, bringing this failed experiment in voter suppression to an end," Andre Segura, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, said in a statement. "The right to vote is sacrosanct, and no eligible voter should have to worry about losing that right."

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Open Government
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FEC Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub

The struggle is real: FEC stalled on regulations for online political ads

The Federal Election Commission has once again punted on establishing rules for identifying who is sponsoring online political advertisements. Thursday marked the fourth consecutive meeting in which the topic fell to the wayside without a clear path forward.

FEC Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub revived debate on the topic in June when she introduced a proposal on how to regulate online political ads. In her proposal, she said the growing threat of misinformation meant that requiring transparency for political ads was "a small but necessary step."

Vice Chairman Matthew Petersen and Commissioner Caroline Hunter put forth their own proposal soon after Weintraub, but the commissioners have failed to find any middle ground. At Thursday's meeting, a decision on the agenda item was pushed off to a later date.

Weintraub's proposal says the funding source should be clearly visible on the face of the ad, with some allowance for abbreviations. But Petersen and Hunter want to allow more flexibility for tiny ads that cannot accommodate these disclaimers due to space.

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Open Government
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California's Supreme Court is expediting President Trump's challenge to a new state law that would require him to release five years of tax returns in order to get on the state ballot for the 2020 election.

California court expedites Trump challenge to new tax returns requirement

The California Supreme Court is fast-tracking its review of a challenge to a new law that would require President Trump to make public his tax returns in order to get on the state's ballot for the 2020 election.

A lawsuit seeking to block implementation of the law was filed August 6 by the California Republican Party against Secretary of State Alex Padilla. It claims the law violates California's constitution.

Two other challenges, one filed by Trump's personal lawyers, are pending in federal court.

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