Federal Judge Permanently Blocks Texas Voter ID Law

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But U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos ruled Wednesday that Texas didn't go far enough, and that traces of the former law's discriminatory objective still remain in Senate Bill 5.

In 2014, she ruled that the law, which required registered voters to present one of seven forms of photo identification - a driver's license, state ID, concealed handgun permit, passport, USA citizenship certificate, military ID or special voter ID - in order to cast a ballot, illegally discriminated against those without the money or means to get an ID.

Texas Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton called the court ruling "outrageous" and said the state would appeal it.

The losses have continued piling up for Texas even as the U.S. Justice Department has essentially reversed course under the Trump administration and backed both the existing maps and revised voter ID law. "The courts prove why Texas is a nonvoting state: Stringent photo ID laws and racially gerrymandered districts keep many from participating in their democracy", he said.

A federal judge in Texas has again thrown out the state's controversial voter ID law, which required voters to show one of several approved forms of photo ID to cast a ballot.

U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos said Senate Bill 5, signed by Gov. The ruling is the latest loss for Texas on the issue of voting rights. Still, Texas keeps trying to adjust the law and push it through. "Requiring a voter to address more issues than necessary under penalty of perjury and enhancing that threat by making the crime a state jail felony appear to be efforts at voter intimidation", she ruled.

Cruz led the filing of an amicus brief past year on behalf of the entire Texas Republican congressional delegation supporting Texas' 2011 Voter ID law.

Such voters would have to sign a "declaration of reasonable impediment" stating that they couldn't acquire a photo ID due to a lack of transportation, lack of a birth certificate, work schedule, disability, illness, family responsibility, or lost or stolen ID. Under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, Texas and other Southern states with a history of discriminatory laws couldn't make these changes without federal approval, until the Supreme Court struck down that part of the Voting Rights Act in 2013. The support by the DOJ of the Texas voter ID law is a reversal from the Obama administration, which joined Democrats and minority rights groups in challenging the 2011 law.

Judge Ramos, however, wrote today that "Defendants and the United States have failed to sustain their burden of proof that SB 5 fully ameliorates the discriminatory objective or result of SB 14".

The decision comes as a blow to the Texas state legislature as well as the U.S. Justice Department under U.S. President Donald Trump.

The case then shifted to determining what remedies Ramos should order, prompting Wednesday's ruling.

Here's the kicker: Texas eliminated the "other" option for voters to select if their impediment for not obtaining a photo ID isn't one of the six Texas offered. The law did not, however, allow state or federal employee ID cards as an alternate. She also noted that it violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, as well as the 14th and 15th amendments.

The ruling has the potential of putting Texas back under restrictions of the Voting Rights Act.



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