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Politics

Texas Begins Proposing Adjustments to Voter ID Law Ruled Discriminatory

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Cheryl Gerber
/
Texas Tribune

A federal judge is hearing possible fixes to the state’s voter ID law today.

The state was forced to make some changes because the law was ruled discriminatory. While some proposed changes have been agreed upon by both sides, the judge will still have to settle some disputes about just what voters will have to do to cast a ballot in November. Both sides have proposed expanding the list of IDs voters can use at the polls.

It used to be voters could only choose from a small list of acceptable photo IDs. But if the judge approves a plan from both sides in this case, voters can present other government documents and sign an affidavit saying they had an impediment to getting one of those previously required photo IDs. But this is where the two sides stop agreeing.

Ezra Rosenberg, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs challenging the law, took issue with the language proposed by the state's attorneys, which he says "basically has a person swear or affirm under penalty of perjury that they do not have SB14 ID."

SB14 refers to Senate Bill 14 – the state’s voter ID law. Rosenberg said the state’s lawyers are proposing some tough language on those affidavits – language he calls intimidating and unnecessary.

“There should be nothing in these declarations that are intimidating or threatening,” he said. “They should be in plain language. They should not be confusing. They should simply provide a basis for the voter to vote.”

Rosenberg’s team is asking the judge to allow plaintiffs a say in how the state educates voters about the final changes to the law. The state’s attorneys want to include language about future legislation and the right to appeal anything they don’t agree on.

In a statement, the state attorney general’s office said the state is “working hard on saving all the important aspects of our voter ID law.” The judge hearing the case will make final decisions about all of this – including the agreed terms – in the coming days or weeks.

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