Judge again finds discrimination in Texas' voter ID law

Federal Judge Strikes Down Controversial Texas Voter ID Law

Monday's order in Veasey v. Abbott notes several factors that suggest the law was enacted for the objective of discriminating against African Americans and Latinos, including the law's disparate impact on these voters and the fact that state lawmakers rushed the state's voter ID law "through the legislative process without the usual committee analysis, debate, and substantive consideration of amendments".

The order is the latest blow to Texas' voting-rights record, as a three-judge panel of federal judges found in March that the Legislature gerrymandered several congressional districts in 2011 to neutralize the growing number of Democratic-leaning Latino voters in the state.

At the heart of the issue is a raging battle between Republicans who say they hope to fight voter fraud and Democrats who say the true aim of such photo ID requirements is to create a substantial burden on the right to vote, particularly for minority voters.

On Monday, she did so: "Upon reconsideration and a re-weighing of the evidence in conformity with the Fifth Circuit's opinion, the court holds that the evidence found "infirm" did not tip the scales", Judge Ramos wrote in her Monday ruling.

A court forced Texas a year ago to provide more flexibility under the law for the November elections.

Voter ID laws are a common method of voter suppression that disproportionately target voters of color.

Texas' controversial voter ID law was created with intent to discriminate against minority voters, a federal judge ruled Monday. Ramos came to a similar conclusion when she moved to block the law in October 2014.

The voter ID law was first proposed by Republican lawmakers in 2005, who argued it would prevent voter fraud by double-checking the identity of anyone who tried to cast a ballot.

Texas appealed to the Fifth Circuit and the en banc court agreed with Gonzales Ramos last summer that SB 14 has a discriminatory effect on minorities, who typically vote for Democratic candidates.

At issue is Senate Bill 14, signed by former Gov.

It has remained in effect for the past six years, even as legal challenges mounted - although it was modified slightly ahead of the November presidential election. Voters must possess one of a few types of ID with very few exceptions in order to be able to vote - for example, college IDs are not allowed but concealed carry permits are accepted. "Texas had implausible and constantly shifting rationales for passing the strictest photo ID law in the country".

But the state's ID law did not stop improper voting.

The Texas law was softened in August to allow people without a driver's license or other photo ID to sign an affidavit declaring that they have an impediment to obtaining required identification.

She praised Gonzales Ramos for finding a second time that SB 14 violates the Voting Rights Act.

After Texas's GOP legislature passed the law in 2011, it was blocked by both the Department of Justice and a Washington, D.C. -based federal court, the two routes Texas had in getting an election policy federally-approved under the pre-Shelby VRA scheme.

Attorney General Ken Paxton's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. That could include changes to the current version of the law, as well as possible federal oversight of the state's voting laws.

"It's possible. It's our belief that you'd have to have multiple instances of discriminatory goal", Brantley Starr, a deputy first assistant attorney general, said.

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