Federal Court Strikes Down Texas Voter ID Law

A federal court in Washington has blocked a Texas law requiring voters to present photo IDs to election officials before being allowed to vote in November. They say that it would place an unfair burden on minorities and the poor.

A US District Court panel ruled that SB 14, called the most stringent voter ID law in the country, imposes “strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor” and said that minorities in Texas are more likely to live in impoverished conditions. As per the language:

“Texas, seeking to implement its voter ID law, bears the burden of proof and must therefore show that SB 14 lacks retrogressive effect. But as we have found, everything Texas has submitted as affirmative evidence is unpersuasive, invalid, or both,” the opinion said. “Moreover, uncontested record evidence conclusively shows that the implicit costs of obtaining SB 14-qualifying ID will fall most heavily on the poor and that a disproportionately high percentage of African Americans and Hispanics in Texas live in poverty. We therefore conclude that SB 14 is likely to lead to ‘retrogression in the position of racial minorities with respect to their effective exercise of the electoral franchise.’”

Republicans have long pushed for stricter voting laws in order to prevent voter fraud. Opponents, backed by a number of studies, maintain that voter fraud is largely a non-existent problem, and that Republicans are only trying to disenfranchise minorities, the poor, and college students.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said the state is planning to appeal the panel’s rejection to the US Supreme Court.

“The Supreme Court of the United States has already upheld voter ID laws as a constitutional method of ensuring integrity at the ballot box,” he said in a statement. “Today’s decision is wrong on the law and improperly prevents Texas from implementing the same type of ballot integrity safeguards that are employed by Georgia and Indiana – and were upheld by the Supreme Court. The State will appeal this decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, where we are confident we will prevail.”

Where do you stand on voter ID laws? Do we need stricter regulation or is it an underhanded attempt by Republicans to keep minorities out of the electoral process?