A federal appeals court ruled that Texas is allowed to enforce voter ID law in the upcoming elections.
Critics claim the law is discriminatory and discourages minorities from voting, with some calling it a “poll tax,” according to NPR.
The Texas state legislature passed the new version of the law designed to address the concerns of opponents, but lower courts still made an effort to block the law.
According to ijr.com:
A three-judge panel on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, however, upheld the new version of the law — S.B. 5 — in a 2-1 vote, saying that the law worked to “cure all the flaws cited in evidence when the case was first tried.”
The court ruling will ensure that the law will remain in place through the 2018 election. The law requires that voters present one of several different forms of identification, or, in absence of an ID, voters must sign an affidavit and supply other information to confirm their identity.
The Texas law is designed to prevent voter fraud, but opponents of the legislation have argued that stiff penalties that could be imposed on voters who lie on the affidavit would deter those least likely to have valid forms of ID, specifically black and Latino voters.
“S.B. 5 does not fully remove the burden disproportionately placed on poor and minority voters; it just creates a new and different burden,” Circuit Court Judge James E. Graves Jr. wrote in his dissenting opinion.
The NAACP Legal Defense Fund spoke out against the ruling as well, saying, “We are disappointed in the decision and considering our next steps,” adding that “no voter should ever be turned away from the polls because of an ID requirement.”
Others have praised the legislation, including Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who issued a statement arguing that the law prevents voter fraud while successfully fixing problems with past iterations of the law by offering voters a method to prove their identity without a photo ID.
“The court rightly recognized that when the Legislature passed Senate Bill 5 last session, it complied with every change the 5th Circuit ordered to the original voter ID law,” Paxton said in a statement. “Safeguarding the integrity of our elections is essential to preserving our democracy.”
The issue of voter ID requirements has been up for debate in other states as well, and with elections coming in November, pressure is mounting to fix concerns with voting laws.”