Photo: Texas Voter ID
This week a Federal Court held that Texas had failed to show that its new voter ID law would not impair the voting rights of minorities. The Federal Court denied Texas’s request for judicial preclearance under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. § 1973c) on the grounds that the law was “retrogressive.” The Federal Court also noted that Texas had “completely missed the point of Section 5” by contending that voters who did not abide by Texas’s new voting ID procedure had simply chosen not to vote.
In striking down the Texas voter ID law the Court noted that in Texas, minority voters are more likely to be poor and face a greater burden in order to comply with the photo ID requirement. The Court went on to state that “a substantial burden” would be placed on the right to vote for even the most “committed citizen” who would have to travel up to 250 miles at their own expense in order to obtain an ID and pay the $22 fee.
“Texas has a history of discrimination that is chronicled by literacy tests, poll taxes, and other mechanisms that were meant to deny minorities their Constitutional right to vote,” said LULAC National President Margaret Moran. “The Voting Rights Act was passed to protect minorities against a state’s shameful disregard for the Constitution. LULAC applauds the Federal Court for seeing the Texas voter ID law for what it was, an attack on the voting rights of minorities.”
Further action on the matter will include a likely appeal by Texas to the United States Supreme Court. Also, the Court’s order included a scheduled time to discuss Texas’ claim that Section 5 was unconstitutional. A link to the Federal Court’s decision can be found here.