Federal judge rejects Texas's voter-ID law

In a ruling Wednesday, a U.S. federal judge has struck down Texas's strict voter-ID legislation, saying the revised version does little to correct intentionally discriminatory provisions that make it more difficult for the poor and minorities to vote.
By Dan Taylor | Aug 29, 2017
In a ruling Wednesday, a U.S. federal judge has struck down Texas's strict voter-ID legislation, saying the revised version does little to correct intentionally discriminatory provisions that make it more difficult for the poor and minorities to vote.

The revised version of the law still contains discriminatory features that are not "fully ameliorated" by its provisions, said U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of Corpus Christi, in the ruling, as reported by Bloomberg.

The new version, which replaces the lack of accepted photo ID with a sworn affidavit that threatens severe penalties for perjury, simply substitutes one barrier to voting with another, the judge observed. She noted that the increased penalties for perjury appeared to be a form of voter intimidation with a potential "chilling effect" on qualified voters that would cause them to forego their vote out of fear.

Judge Ramos also said Texas failed to prove that significant voter fraud was occurring within its borders. She returned the state to the voter-ID laws in place before the first ID requirements were passed in 2011.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, called the ruling "outrageous" and promised to appeal to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

"Safeguarding the integrity of elections in Texas is essential to preserving our democracy." Paxton said, in a written statement, according to The Dallas Morning News.

Texas Democrats, on the other hand, welcomed Judge Ramos's ruling.

"Republicans have done everything in their power to steal Texans' right to the ballot box," said Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa, as reported by The Dallas Morning News. "It's wrong, and a federal court has now confirmed it's a violation of the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act."

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