Texas was sued on Thursday over its new voter ID law, which was passed in 2011. The US Justice Department filed the lawsuit in US District Court in Corpus Christi.
A federal court in Washington, D.C., has already blocked the law once. However, its ruling was undone when the US Supreme Court struck down part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act in June.
Voter ID laws require government-issued identification in order to cast a ballot. Reuters reports that the laws have turned into a source of contention between Democrats and Republicans.
While many Republicans support the laws as a way to deter voter fraud, Democrats contend that the measures suppress Democratic constituencies.
In the lawsuit against Texas, the Justice Department asserted that the law was passed to deny racial minorities the right to vote. The department added that Texas failed to take steps to make sure the law wasn’t discriminatory.
Along with filing a lawsuit against Texas for its voter ID law, USA Today notes that the US Justice Department is also joining a separate legal challenge to the state’s congressional and legislative redistricting plans.
The initial lawsuit in that case was filed on behalf of several minority voters in the state. Critics argue that voter ID laws discriminate against people who are less fortunate. In order to obtain a government ID, applicants often have to pay for a certified copy of their birth certificate. They also must travel to a state office and pay a fee for the identification card.
The courts and the Justice Department have in the past allowed voter ID laws to go through in states where there is no additional cost associated with the new law. However, that isn’t the case in Texas. It is likely that the Justice Department will also file a lawsuit against North Carolina. The state passed a similar law last month.
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