Race

Texas Placed Under Federal Supervision, Tries to Reinstate Draconian Voter ID Law

On Friday, Texas’ Attorney General filed a petition requesting that the United States Supreme Court reinstate the state’s draconian voter ID law, SB 14, following the remarkable move by a US District judge to put Texas under court supervision.

This past July, the strictest voter ID law in the country was repealed by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in the ruling of Veasey v. Abbott after it was found to disproportionately hinder the ability of African Americans and Latinos to vote, in violation of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

But this did not stop the state of Texas from disseminating information containing false voter ID requirements in the press and on official voting materials.

The overturned law allowed military IDs and concealed handgun carry permits to be used as voter identification, but forbade employee photo IDs and university photo IDs. The law was found to privilege forms of identification that were more likely to be held by white voters and excluded those more likely to belong to people of color.

US District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos and the Justice Department found that despite the ruling, the state of Texas proceeded to not only actively mislead the public as to who is eligible to sign affidavits in lieu of IDs, but in some cases, election officials outright lied about there still being a strict ID requirement in place.

Since being placed under federal supervision, Texas has called on the Supreme Court to overturn the appellate court ruling and address what Attorney General Ken Paxton argues was a lack of evidence presented by the case’s plaintiffs showing that “the law resulted in diminished minority political participation or prevented even a single person from voting.”

But the original plaintiffs in the case were individuals who had actively been denied the right to vote in Texas because of the new law. Floyd Carrier was one of those individuals. Despite being well known by the poll workers at his voting location, he did not have an appropriate identification and was not given a provisional ballot or permitted to vote. Another plaintiff did not have available the $42 it would have cost her to procure her birth certificate from the state of Mississippi, excluding her from being able to vote.

Today is National Voter Registration Day. 11 states have passed strict photo ID laws in the wake of the Court’s ruling that essentially decimated Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. If implemented nationwide, these laws would disenfranchise 21 million registered American voters. Do not take the right to vote for granted. Register here.

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