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UPDATE: Attorneys for both sides gave closing arguments last Friday after a weeklong trial. Experts expect the ruling, which could come before November, will hinge on whether the defendants have successfully shown that the law has a disparate impact on minorities. Representative Fischer highlighted the hurdles that many Texans would have to clear in order to acquire valid ID, pointing out that some "would have a 200-mile round-trip drive." Attorney General Eric Holder described the ID requirement as a "poll tax." As the New York Times editorialized, "People died to achieve [the Voting Rights Act], but 47 years later, the discrimination has not disappeared."
Last May, Texas Governor Rick Perry signed SB 14 into law. An ALEC award-winner himself, Governor Perry had the support of several ALEC members and others who pushed the legislation. Together they made Texas a photo ID state.
Then the DOJ issued an official objection that stopped the law from going into effect, saying that it disproportionately affects Hispanic voters. Not only is Texas defending the law but Attorney General Greg Abbott has amended the state’s complaint with a direct challenge to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The AG has also dropped his objection to taking depositions from state lawmakers.
Though it remains tied up in court, the effects of the law have already been felt statewide, especially surrounding the May 29 primary. KSAT:
UPDATE: Texas has responded to last week’s DOJ ruling against the Texas voter ID law. Attorney General Greg Abbott has amended the state’s complaint in pending litigation to not just defend the law but to also add a direct challenge to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, saying, “For the Department of Justice to now contend that Texas cannot implement its voter ID law denies Texas the ability to do what other states can rightfully exercise under the Constitution.” Austin American-Statesman reporting. US Senator John Cornyn also hit back at DOJ, saying, “The Justice Department's refusal to preclear this change in Texas law by the Texas Legislature is simply inexcusable.” As you can see below, the data just doesn’t back up their political claims. Texas is not subject to VRA preclearance without cause. In all locations, but especially where there are histories of discrimination, we must remain vigilant when voting law changes are made and bear out the review process.