August 31, 2012 Print

Court Strikes Down Texas Voter ID Law

by Bethany Monk

A federal appellate court on Thursday blocked a Texas law requiring citizens to show photo identification before voting.

Greg Abbott, the state’s attorney general, said Texas will appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Today’s decision is wrong on the law and improperly prevents Texas from implementing the same type of ballot integrity safeguards that are employed by Georgia and Indiana — (which) were upheld by the Supreme Court,” Abbott said in a statement.

Texas legislators passed the law in 2011, requiring voters to show one of six types of photo identification before casting their ballots.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. said the law’s impact would fall “heavily on the poor,” and stated that a high percentage of  African Americans and Hispanics in Texas live in poverty.

Hans von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, told CitizenLink that other states where voter-identification laws have been enforced have actually seen an increase in the number of racial minorities at the polls.

“They unjustifiably discounted the experience of states like Georgia and Indiana, whose photo-ID laws have been in place now for a number of years and have had no discriminatory effects on minority voters,” he said.

Legislators in Kansas, Mississippi, Rhode Island and Wisconsin also passed voter-identification laws last year. A trial over South Carolina’s law began this week.

Read the court’s ruling in State of Texas v. Eric H. Holder.