A federal judge has found a Texas voter ID law to be intentionally discriminatory towards Black and Hispanic voters. According to The New York Times, the 2011 law was found to be in violation of the Voting Rights Act and may once again place Texas elections under federal supervision.
The law, signed by former Governor Rick Perry required voters to have at least one form of government issued identification: a driver’s license, a passport, or a military ID card. The law has been found to be discriminatory at least 5 times in court.
Texas Democrats say that Texas Republicans jammed the law through via procedural loopholes, by passing the law as “emergency legislation” and without allowing for committee hearings, amendments debate in the Texas legislature. US District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos found the law to be “unduly strict” because of the legislature’s unwillingness to soften the racial impact of the law.
Plaintiffs, including the Texas NAACP and the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, claim that the law was intentionally discriminatory towards people who are less likely to have access to a state identification card, which includes low income people and people of color.
The law had been subject to a Justice Department lawsuit under the Obama Administration—until Attorney General Jeff Sessions dropped it in February.
This ruling is just one small victory in the fight against voter discrimination in the United States. Since the Supreme Court struck down federal oversight of historically discriminatory states, an essential component of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, states from North Carolina to Texas have passed many new laws that suppress minority votes, including gerrymandering laws and voter id laws. It is essential to remain vigilant and pressure Democrats and organizing groups to challenge these laws and protect the right to vote.
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