An injunction has been granted by a Texas Federal court barring state government officials from enforcing measures to introduce compulsory photo IDs in voting. The 2011 law (SB 14) required voters to present one of seven forms of ID in order to cast a ballot. This has now been stopped by the ruling.
Critics of the bill, and the presiding Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos, say that the law was enacted “with the deliberate intent to discriminate against black and Hispanic voters.” Judge Ramos ruled that the bill acts against both the 14th and 15th Amendments.
Most polls in America have shown that a vast majority of citizens favor voter ID laws that would likely eliminate voter fraud. Advocates make the argument that for almost any activity from opening a bank account to claiming Welfare or Food Stamps requires valid identification and that the “real disenfranchisement” comes from those who are not being encouraged to access the full range of services available in the US.
This bill has been sent back for rewrites several times with court orders to make it “less discriminatory.” The bill’s authors included options for those potential voters that had no access to (or difficulties in accessing) one of the SEVEN forms of acceptable voter ID, SB 5 [Declaration of Reasonable Impediment]. Judge Ramos still insisted that the bill had discrimination at its heart.
Judge Ramos, after delivering the verdict, wrote: “The court has found that the SB 5 [Declaration of Reasonable Impediment] process does not fully relieve minorities of the burden of discriminatory features of the law.”
“Thus the court has the power to enjoin SB 5 as a continuing violation of the law as determined in this case,” she continued. “The court thus issues injunctive relief to prevent ongoing violations of federal law and the recurrence of illegal behavior.”
According to The Hill: “SB 5 was backed by the U.S. Justice Department, signaling a major reverse in the agency’s position on the matter. Under the Obama administration, the Justice Department had claimed that the original voter ID law was discriminatory.”
Upon announcing his decision to appeal the ruling, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) said: “The U.S. Department of Justice is satisfied that the amended voter ID law has no discriminatory purpose or effect.” “Safeguarding the integrity of elections in Texas is essential to preserving our democracy. The 5th Circuit should reverse the entirety of the district court’s ruling.”