Friday, August 31, 2012

Texas loses latest voter ID battle after judges strike down 'retrogressive' law

    Friday, August 31, 2012   No comments

A federal court has struck down a Texas law requiring voters to present photo identification at the ballot box in the second ruling this week to effectively accuse the state of racial discrimination and attempting to manipulate elections.

In an escalating legal battle between mostly Republican-controlled states and the Obama administration over voter ID and other election laws, a panel of three judges in Washington DC found that the Texas legislation imposed "strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor" because of the cost and process involved in obtaining identification.

The US justice department told the court that voters would have to pay for birth certificates and travel up to 250 miles to obtain ID cards. The court said this imposed a "heavy burden" on any voter and would be "especially daunting for the working poor" who are more likely to be racial minorities.

The court concluded that if the law was implemented it "will likely have a retrogressive effect" by limiting access to the ballot box. It said that evidence submitted by Texas in support of its claim that the law was not discriminatory – and was necessary to combat voter fraud – was "unpersuasive, invalid, or both".

The US justice department told the court there are 600,000 people registered to vote in Texas whose names are not on driving licence or state identification databases. It said the voter ID laws in Texas and other states is a blatant attempt to disenfranchise African American and Hispanic voters.

On Tuesday another federal court ruled that an attempt by Texas to redraw its electoral maps was illegal because it was intended to diminish the impact of the Latino vote.


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