Federal court strikes down Texas voter-ID law a second time

Texas' attempt to modify its voter-ID law didn't pass muster with U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos, who issued a permanent injunction Wednesday against the law.
By Lila Alexander | Aug 29, 2017
Texas' attempt to modify its voter-ID law didn't pass muster with U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos, who issued a permanent injunction Wednesday against the law. Ramos concluded that the law's modified version still discriminates against Latino and black voters and that the state has not proven that it will accommodate these groups of voters going forward.
Texas enacted the voter-ID law originally in 2011. It required voters to show one of seven forms of identification before they can cast a ballot in any election.
Gun licenses, state driver's licenses, a U.S. passport, a military ID card, a U.S. citizenship certificate, and an election identification certificate are among the approved IDs. State university IDs are not. Critics contended that too many black or Latino voters might not have any of the seven approved IDs and would therefore be disenfranchised.
The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the law last year, and Ramos issued a ruling in April stating that the law was discriminating against minorities. In June, the governor signed into law a rewritten version of the law that made some accommodations.
The rewrite allowed those voters who lacked any of the approved IDs to show alternative forms of identification, such as utility bills or bank statements, and to sign affidavits swearing that they had a "reasonable impediment" to obtaining any of the approved IDs. Anyone found guilty of lying about not having the IDs could be charged with a felony and imprisoned for two yearsa threat that Ramos said amounted to "voter intimidation."
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said that he would appeal the court's decision. He pointed out that the Trump administration had filed a court document in support of the law in July and that the Justice Department had withdrawn its Obama-era assertion that the law was discriminatory.
"The U.S. Department of Justice is satisfied the amended voter ID law has no discriminatory purpose or effect," he said. "Safeguarding the integrity of elections in Texas is essential to preserving our democracy."

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