Texas Officials Ready To Fight For Voter ID Laws
The Justice Department in May struck down a Texas law requiring voters show photo ID, but officials in the Lonestar State are not going down without a fight.
Texas officials are slated to take the Justice Department to U.S. District Court to appeal the ruling, with a July 9 date scheduled. A three-judge panel will review the case, in which Texas officials claim the Obama administration is overreaching in striking down the law, the Houston Chronicle reported.
“Texas should not be treated differently and must have the same authority as other states to protect the integrity of our elections,” Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott told the Houston Chronicle.
The Texas plan was not the first voter ID law to hit a snag at the federal level. The Justice Department has also challenged laws passed in other states, the Washington Post reported. Voter ID laws have also come under fire from civil rights groups, which claim the laws will unfairly target African-Americans.
New voter ID measures were introduced in 34 states last year, gaining passage in four and being vetoed by governors in five others. Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas strengthened existing laws, the Washington Post reported.
The Texas law requires voters to present an ID issued by either the state or military, and was passed by Republicans who said it would cut down on voter fraud.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder disagreed.
“We objected to a photo ID requirement in Texas because it would have had a disproportionate impact on Hispanic voters,” Holder was quoted in the Houston Chronicle.
Holder himself has come under fire from Republicans in Congress for his opposition to voter ID laws along with the Justice Department’s failure to cooperate in the investigation of a program to track illegal guns distributed to drug cartels.
Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, predicted the law would be upheld.
“The Texas proposal was based on a similar law passed by the Indiana legislature, which was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2008,” Smith told the Houston Chronicle.
“The administration’s actions aren’t just wrong, they are arrogant, undemocratic and an insult to the rule of law,” he continued.
The Texas law is expected to be held up until after November elections as legal proceedings go on and lawmakers are deposed.