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Groups Challenge Texas Voter ID Law

Photo by KUT

A law requiring voters in Texas to show photo identification before casting a ballot is being challenged by several civil rights groups. The American Civil Liberties Union, the Advancement Project and others sent a letter to the U.S. Justice Department this morning, saying the law will have a discriminatory effect on minorities.

“These proposed changes -- both in the process and in the types of acceptable identification -- are unjustified and are unlawful under the Voting Rights Act,” the letter states.

Senate Bill 14 was passedduring the regular legislative session and was signed by the Governor in May. The law takes effect in 2012.

Currently, 27 other states have voter identification requirements. But when Texas’ takes effect, it will be among only six states that require photo ID to vote.

The U.S. Justice Department is currently reviewing the Texas voter ID law under the provisions of the Voting Rights Act. Texas is among the jurisdictions that requires pre-clearance for any change in voter requirements. The intent is to prevent changes that would weaken the strength of minority voters.

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion-dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on X @KUTnathan.