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Federal judge tosses out Texas voter ID law
September 21 2017, 02:16 | Irvin Gilbert
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"Despite the Trump administration's reversal of a longstanding [Department of Justice] position that Texas engaged in intentional race discrimination in enacting its voter ID law, the court today threw out both the 2011 law and the 2017 version that did not fix the original law's racially discriminatory objective", Gupta concluded.
A federal judge in Texas once again threw out the state's voter ID law and said it was discriminatory against African-Americans and Hispanics.
"The U.S. Department of Justice is satisfied that the amended voter ID law has no discriminatory objective or effect", he said.
"Safeguarding the integrity of elections in Texas is essential to preserving our democracy", he added.
The state appealed that ruling to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which largely upheld Gonzales Ramos' opinion, and ordered a temporary fix for the voters in the 2016 election. Still, Gonzales Ramos found that this addition did not "meaningfully" expand options for voters since those who do not possess the right ID-who are disproportionately Hispanic or African Americans, Gonzales Ramos has found-are subject to additional obstacles.
It was the second setback in a week for Texas in voting rights cases. "It doesn't matter how many times the state tries to dress the law in sheep's clothing - its intent is to discriminate and prevent hundreds of thousands of eligible voters from casting ballots". Moreover, Wednesday's decision was the eighth finding of intentional discrimination by the courts against Texas since 2011.
If they don't have one of those, they may vote by signing a declaration at the polls explaining why not and provide supporting documentation, like a certified birth certificate or utility bill.
"While the (declaration) requires only a signature and other presumably available means of identification, the history of voter intimidation counsels against accepting SB 5's solution as an appropriate or complete remedy", Ramos writes in her decision to issue permanent injunctions against both measures. But Gonalzes Ramos this week rejected that version, too, and said that criminal penalties Texas attached to lying on the affidavit could scare away voters fearful of making an innocent mistake. "From discriminatory gerrymandering to discriminatory voter ID laws, it has become entirely clear that Texas Republicans are rigging our election system".
Texas Democrats welcomed Ramos' ruling. But still intact is a lesser-known provision in the law that would essentially restore that requirement if states were found to discriminate against voters. She also noted that it violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, as well as the 14th and 15th amendments. Paxton pointed to the Trump administration's recent reversal of the Obama administration's Department of Justice argument that the Texas law was unconstitutional and violated the Voting Rights Act.