Federal Court Rejects Texas Voter ID Law

New Texas Voter ID law undermines minority votes

Federal Court Rejects Texas Voter ID Law

Today, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the new state of Texas Voter ID law – which would require all potential voters to provide a narrowly proscribed, government-issued voter identification card – discriminates against minority voters and therefore violates the Voting Rights Act.

The court said SB 14 would “lead to a retrogression in the position of racial minorities with respect to their effective exercise of the electoral franchise.” The state, which had sought a declaratory judgment in favor of the law, needed to demonstrate that the law would not have a discriminatory effect, but the court opined that in fact the law will "almost certainly" have discriminatory effects.

The court called the Texas law the "most stringent" Voter ID law it had reviewed, and said the state made no real effort to prevent the law's discriminatory effects.

The court wrote: "Finally, during closing arguments, Texas’s counsel complained that they had been shouldered with an 'impossible burden' in this litigation. … This may well be correct, but Texas’s lawyers have only their client to blame. The State of Texas enacted a voter ID law that—at least to our knowledge—is the most stringent in the country. That law will almost certainly have retrogressive effect: it imposes strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor, and racial minorities in Texas are disproportionately likely to live in poverty. And crucially, the Texas legislature defeated several amendments that could have made this a far closer case."

Attorney General Greg Abbott said Texas would appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

You can read the opinion here.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Voter ID
Texas' Big, Bad Week for Voter Suppression and Gerrymandering
Texas' Big, Bad Week for Voter Suppression and Gerrymandering
Within two days, courts reject second election map, voter ID bill

Richard Whittaker, Aug. 25, 2017

Court Rules: Texas Voter ID Still Racist
Court Rules: Texas Voter ID Still Racist
Second ruling finds GOP deliberately suppressed minority vote

Richard Whittaker, April 11, 2017

More Voting Rights Act
Court: Texas House Districts Unlawful, Unconstitutional
Court: Texas House Districts Unlawful, Unconstitutional
Panel of judges rules 2-1 against drawing of 2011 maps

Richard Whittaker, April 20, 2017

The RNC Has Twitter Issues
The RNC Has Twitter Issues
GOP asks for policy feedback. Twitter unleashes the trolls.

Richard Whittaker, Jan. 17, 2014

More by Michael King
Closing the Book on Camelback
Closing the Book on Camelback
Lakeside project clears its last City Hall hurdles

Nov. 14, 2018

C.A. + D.A. = C.D.A.?
C.A. + D.A. = C.D.A.?
County may send attorney merger to Lege

Nov. 9, 2018

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Voter ID, Voting Rights Act, federal court

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle