Federal Court Shoots Down Texas Voter ID Law

Says it puts 'strict unforgiving burdens on the poor'

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 30, 2012 1:05 PM CDT

(Newser) – Three federal judges unanimously rejected Texas' voter ID law today, saying that it imposes "strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor." Since racial minorities are more likely to be poor, the judges ruled that the law violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The judges, who were appointed by George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Bill Clinton, called the law "the most stringent in the nation," worse, for example, than an Indiana version held up by the Supreme Court, the AP reports.

The Justice Department had called a variety of Democratic lawmakers to testify, with each saying they detected a racial motive in the law. Texas countered that there was little evidence that such laws decrease turnout, and that the public demand for such a law was strong. The Texas case is one of several voter ID disputes raging around the country; South Carolina's version is on trial this week.

Voters cast their ballots at a polling station in East  Austin, Texas, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010.
Voters cast their ballots at a polling station in East Austin, Texas, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010.   (AP Photo/LM Otero)
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder speaks at the NAACP annual convention Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Houston.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder speaks at the NAACP annual convention Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in Houston.   (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
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