DOJ to challenge voter ID law
August 22, 2013, 9:00 pm by James Walker
The Department of Justice said Thursday it will seek to haveTexas’ controversial voter ID law declared unconstitutional.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said that the department "will take action against jurisdictions that attempt to hinder access to the ballot box, no matter where it occurs.”
The Texaslegislature passed the law, one of the strictest in the country, in 2011 but legal challenges have prevented it from being implemented.
Earlier this year the United States Supreme Court struck down provisions of the historic Voting Rights Act that required some states, such as Texas, to pre-clear legislation that involves voting rights. Texas officials wasted no time implementing the law and plans to use it in the Nov. 11 constitutional amendment election.
Holder’s complaint will ask a federal court in Texas to prohibit Texasfrom enforcing the voter ID law.
The Legislature passed the law, authored by Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, in 2011, but legal challenges have prevented the state from enacting it.
The law requires voters to present one of a few forms of photo ID before casting ballots, and state officials had hoped to enact it statewide in the constitutional amendment election this November.
The DOJ wants to make sure any change to election law in Texas is approved by the federal government because the state is one of several mostly southern states, that the courts ruled discriminated against minority voters for years.
The suit asks the court to declare that the state’s law violates both section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and the 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution.
In addition to asking the court to enjoin enforcement of the law, the complaint also asks the court to authorize appointment of federal election observers in Texasand to retain jurisdiction for purposes of a bail-in claim under section 3 of the Voting Rights Act.
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