The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling today upholding lower court rulings declaring that the Texas Voter ID law violates the Voting Rights Act, the Texas Tribune and other sources are reporting.
The Texas law, passed in 2011, is considered one of the strictest of such laws in the country. It requires that voters show a state driver’s license or ID card, a concealed handgun license, a U.S. passport, a military ID card or a U.S. citizenship certificate with a photo before they are allowed to cast their ballot. Student IDs are not considered valid ID under the law.
Some people, such as those with disabilities, can be exempt. But the law caused many problems with transgender voters, whose presentation many times does not match their official ID.
Ed Espinoza, executive director of Progress Texas, said his organization is “absolutely thrilled” with the decision. “For everyone who believes in a full and representative democracy, today is day to celebrate,” Espinoza said. “Democrats have argued for more than a decade that Republican attempts to pass a voter ID bill are discriminatory. Today, the most conservative court in the country agreed with what we’ve said — that the voter ID bill is overturned because it effectively cancels the protections guaranteed by the Voting Rights Act.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, of course, disagreed. In a statement issued this afternoon, Paxton said, “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.”