Federal judge: Texas voter ID law discriminates on purpose
by Leigh Jones
Posted 8/24/17, 10:55 am
Texas has lost another round in its battle to enforce one of the strictest voter ID laws in the country. Federal District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos ruled Wednesday that the new law adopted earlier this year doesn’t solve the discrimination problems created by the bill adopted in 2011. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year that the 2011 law disproportionately burdened minority voters by requiring one of seven forms of identification to cast a ballot in an election. Minority voters are less likely to have the IDs, the court ruled. Earlier this year, Ramos ruled state lawmakers intentionally discriminated against minority voters with the new requirements. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton vowed to appeal the latest ruling, saying the changes adopted this legislative session addressed concerns voiced by the 5th Circuit in last year’s ruling. Under the new law, voters without a photo ID can vote after presenting alternate forms of ID and signing an affidavit swearing that a “reasonable impediment” prevented them from getting a photo ID. While Texas appeals, Ramos will consider whether to return Texas to the preclearance list of states, which would require Texas to get federal approval for any changes to its election laws.
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Leigh is the news editor for WORLD Radio. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate who spent six years as a newspaper reporter in Texas before joining WORLD. Leigh also co-wrote Infinite Monster: Courage, Hope, and Resurrection in the Face of One of America's Largest Hurricanes. She resides with her husband and daughter in Houston, Texas.