A federal judge who has compared Texas' voter ID requirements to a "poll tax" on minorities once again blocked the law Wednesday, rejecting a weakened version backed by the Trump administration and dealing Texas Republicans another court defeat over voting rights. US District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos rejected changes signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott this summer as not only lacking but also potentially chilling to voters because of new criminal penalties, the AP reports. The new version didn't expand the list of acceptable photo identifications—meaning gun licenses remained sufficient proof to vote, but not college student IDs.
Instead, the changes would allow people who lack a required ID to cast a ballot if they signed an affidavit and brought paperwork that showed their name and address, such as a bank statement or utility bill. Gonzales Ramos, who first struck down the law in 2014, said Texas didn't go far enough with its changes and said that criminal penalties Texas attached to lying on the affidavit could have a chilling effect on voters who, fearful of making an innocent mistake on the form, simply wouldn't cast a ballot. The state's Republican attorney general, Ken Paxton, called the latest ruling "outrageous" and said an appeals court should void the decision. (In May, the Supreme Court ruled against North Carolina's voter ID law.)