A federal appeals court has ordered changed to Texas’ voter ID law. The court ruled the law violates the Voting Rights Act and has ordered changes before the November election. The ruling by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals instructs a lower court to fix the “discriminatory effect” of the 2011 law before the November election, but said to do it without disrupting the process too much.

 

Read the statements from Texas officials on both sides of the issue (will be updated):

 

Governor Greg Abbott today released the following statement on the 5th Circuit Court’s Voter ID ruling:

 

“The 5th Circuit rightly reversed the lower court’s finding of discriminatory purpose, but wrongly concluded the law had a discriminatory effect. Voter fraud is real, and it undermines the integrity of the election process. As Attorney General I prosecuted cases against voter fraud across the State, and Texas will continue to make sure there is no illegal voting at the ballot box.”

 

Attorney General Ken Paxton:

“It is imperative that the State government safeguards our elections and ensures the integrity of our democratic process. Preventing voter fraud is essential to accurately reflecting the will of Texas voters during elections, and it is unfortunate that this common-sense law, providing protections against fraud, was not upheld in its entirety.”

 

The Texas Legislature enacted the voter ID law in 2011 through Senate Bill 14 (SB14), requiring voters to present government-issued photo ID when voting at the polls. The seven acceptable forms of photo ID included the following: a Texas Driver’s license, free Texas election identification certificate (EIC), Texas personal ID card, Texas license to carry a concealed handgun, U.S. military ID card, U.S. citizenship certificate, and U.S. passport.

 

 

Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa issued the following statement:

 

“Today, is a great day for all Texas voters! The most restrictive and discriminatory Republican voter ID law in country has been struck down.

 

“Texas Democrats know that our nation and democracy are stronger when everyone participates in the electoral process. That is why today’s victory is so important for our families. This November, our families will decide the future of our nation, and voter ID, as we know it, will be no more.

 

“Texas Republican’s discriminatory Voter ID law has held some 700,000 Texans away from their right to vote for many elections now. Unfortunately, that damage by Republicans has already been done to our families. However, we can now look forward to a fairer election system, worthy of our great state.

 

“This is a huge win for voting rights in Texas and across our nation.

 

“Our legal team is reviewing the opinion and the Texas Democratic Party will have further comment at a later time.”

 

 

San Antonio, Texas – State Senator José Menéndez (D-San Antonio) issued the following statement after the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Texas’ intolerable voter ID law.

                              

The following quotes are attributable to Senator José Menéndez:

 

“Today the Court affirmed that voting is a founding principal of our Democracy and nothing shall abridge that right. We knew from the beginning that Texas’ voter ID law was meant to disenfranchise voters. The ruling will help the grandmother who no longer has her driver’s license exercise her right to vote. It will allow the college student, who was barred from using a student id to vote, access to their polling place. For too long, the State prioritized keeping people away from a polling location with this draconian law. The Court confirmed that this egregious law was put into place to oppress Texas voters. Laws that hinder the minority vote have no place in America.”

 

“The millions of dollars spent defending this unconstitutional law could have helped shore up Child Protective Services, replaced textbooks for Texas classrooms, or helped thousands of indigent seniors. I’m calling on General Paxton to stop chasing windmills and face the reality that this law discriminates against voters. It’s all money flushed down the toilet on a “solution” looking for a fictitious problem.”

 

 

Rebecca L. Robertson, legal and policy director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas:

“We’re delighted that the 5th Circuit has determined — once again – that Texas’ discriminatory photo voter ID law has the effect of disenfranchising hundreds of thousands of minority voters in the Lone Star State while doing precisely nothing to prevent voter fraud. This law was nothing less than a brazen and transparent attempt to keep people of color out of the voting booth. The case now goes back to the district judge to fashion a remedy that will make it easier for qualified Texans to cast their ballots this fall and we’re hopeful the result will be more fair.”