A federal appeals court struck down Texas' voter ID law on Wednesday, August 5th in a victory for the Obama administration, which had taken the unusual step of bringing the weight of the U.S. Justice Department to fight new Republican-backed mandates at the ballot box.
In an unanimous decision, a three-judge panel ruled that the controversial and Republican-backed measure violated Section 2 of the landmark civil rights law. The law has been part of a complicated legal battle for years. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Texas 2011 law carries a "discriminatory effect" and violates one of the remaining provisions of the Voting Rights Act — the heart of which was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013.
Texas was allowed to use the voter ID law during the 2014 elections, thereby requiring an estimated 13.6 million registered Texas voters to have a photo ID.
Section 2 of the landmark civil rights law required opponents to meet a far higher threshold and prove that Texas intentionally discriminated against minority voters.
"We conclude that the district court did not reversibly err in determining that SB 14 violates Section 2 by disparately impacting minority voters," the court wrote.
The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) which was a party to the lawsuit applauded the ruling. MALDEF's Luis Figueroa stated, "The Texas Legislature overreached in an attempt to find a solution to a nonexistent problem. Thankfully the Voting Rights Act protects minority voters from discriminatory laws like SB 14."
Those that think getting an ID in Texas is easy should watch this video created by the The Texas Voter Identification Assistance Project: www.youtube.com/watch