Texas Political News. State of Texas v. Holder: Texas Challenging Voting Rights Act in U.S. District Court
The Texas lawsuit for approval of the voter identification law is: State of Texas v. Holder in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, No. 12-cv-128. The judicial panel is composed of Appeals Judge David Tatel, District Judge Robert Wilkins and District Judge Rosemary Collyer. (Additional reporting by Corrie MacLaggan; Editing by Howard Goller and Bill Trott)
Beginning this past Monday, the Voting Rights Act is facing a challenge that may end up at the Supreme Court. The U.S. Distict Court for the District of Columbia is deciding whether or not state and local governments may require voters to present a photo ID.
The Voting Rights Act, passed in 1965 is intended to block any move by states that might hinder minorities from voting. In the past this act has enjoyed broad support across the political spectrum. As voting lines have fallen more and more along racial lines in recent decades, opinions about the enforcement of the Voting Rights Act have flared up.
The state of Texas claims that a picture ID is needed to insure that voter fraud is kept at a minimum. The fact is, other states have passed similar laws without being challenged by the Federal Government. Georgia and Indiana currently have similar laws. Texas requires a voter registration card, or if that is not available other forms of ID. The voter registration card and other forms (utilities bills, etc.) do not generally have photo ID attached to them.
The Obama administration claims that this requirement puts an undue burden on minority voters, since a larger percentage of minorities do not have photo IDs.
The state of Texas counters this by offering free photo IDs through Department of Public Safety offices around the state. However, those offices are not readily available in all counties. In addition, while gun licenses are considered good enough for a voter to be approved, a student ID is not. Those against the Texas law believe it unfairly discriminates against minorities and students, both groups having a tendency to vote for Democrats.
“Stakes are high and the hearing could take a week of the court’s time. A ruling is expected by Aug. 31. Plaintiffs have argued that the law, Senate Bill 14 passed by the Texas Legislature and signed by the governor in 2011, would disenfranchise minority voters, black and Hispanic voters in particular. The law would require citizens, in order to vote, to present at the polls their valid state, federal or military photo identification in addition to their state-issued voter registration card. The State of Texas, et al., defendants, have said the law is necessary to prevent voter fraud.”