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Four Texas voters who were told they’d be purged from voter-registration lists as deceased sued the secretary of state, seeking to block the removal of presumed-dead voters from Texas’s election rosters.

The voters asked a Travis County judge today to stop the state from striking about 77,000 people from the electoral rolls, arguing the plan violates the Texas election code and the U.S. Voting Rights Act. Under the act, any changes to Texas’s election rules must be approved by the U.S. Justice Department or a special three-judge panel.

“There is no statutory authority for this purge,” civil rights lawyer David Richards said in a phone interview while waiting for the judge to rule. “There was no pre-clearance of this and it is a clear change of procedure.”

Richards said the judge agreed to an immediate hearing on the request for the injunction.

The case is Moore v. Morton, D-1-6N-12-002923, District Court, Travis County, Texas (Austin).

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