February 28, 2018

(San Antonio, TX) - A federal court has granted a request by MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) and TCRP (Texas Civil Rights Project) to temporarily block a 2018 rule adopted by the Commissioners Court of Starr County that prohibits “electioneering” during voting periods on properties owned or operated by the county.

U.S. District Judge Randy Crane’s order means that individuals can engage in free speech activities in common areas of Starr County property, including sidewalks, parks, picnic areas, and lawns outside of public buildings without having to apply for a permit.

Please attribute the following statement to Celina Moreno, interim Southwest Regional Counsel of MALDEF:

“This is a victory for common sense and the right to express political views free from government overreach. The federal court has preserved First Amendment rights by blocking the ban on speech in county-owned common areas. This ban would have criminalized residents even for wearing a political t-shirt on a public sidewalk.”

Please attribute the following statement to Efrén C. Olivares, Racial & Economic Justice Director with the Texas Civil Rights Project:

“The decision today is a victory for the people of Starr County, as it restores their right to an equal and open opportunity to participate in the electoral process, a value protected by the First Amendment. When Starr County improperly tried to impose a blanket ban on electioneering, they also silenced Texas voices. We are thrilled to see the right to political speech restored to Starr County residents, regardless of their political affiliation.”

Read the ruling here and the press release here.

Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "Latino Legal Voice for Civil Rights in America" MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit:

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund