Texas ID Law Shot Down, Breaches Voting Rights Act

A federal appeals panel ruled that a voter identification law in Texas discriminated against blacks and Hispanics and violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965


By Erik Eckholm

The New York Times

A federal appeals panel ruled that a strict voter identification law in Texas discriminated against blacks and Hispanics and violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — a decision that election experts called an important step toward defining the reach of the landmark law.

The case is one of a few across the country that are being closely watched in legal circles after a 2013 Supreme Court decision that blocked the voting act’s most potent enforcement tool, federal oversight of election laws in numerous states, including Texas, with histories of racial discrimination.

While the federal act still bans laws that suppress minority voting, it has been uncertain exactly what kinds of measures cross the legal line since that Supreme Court ruling.

The Texas ID law is one of the strictest of its kind in the country. It requires voters to bring a government-issued photo ID to the polls. Accepted forms of identification include a driver’s license, a United States passport, a concealed-handgun license and an election identification certificate issued by the State Department of Public Safety.

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