Voting Rights Act

The seal of the Republic of Texas on the floor of the Capitol rotunda
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A federal judge in San Antonio will hear arguments Thursday over whether Texas should have to clear its political maps with the federal government in 2021.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Texas' election chief on Thursday defended giving prosecutors a list of 95,000 potential noncitizens on the state's voter rolls before vetting the information, which turned out to wrongly include scores of people who were naturalized before casting legal ballots.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Julieta Garibay is one of almost 100,000 people on Texas' voter rolls who state officials recently said might not be citizens. Like many people on the list, though, the Austin resident recently became a U.S. citizen and has the right to vote.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Voting rights groups and local election officials say the state’s bungled effort to prove there are thousands of noncitizens on the state’s voter rolls is all about making voter registration harder in Texas before the 2020 election.

Salvador Castro for KUT

Despite accusations the state is violating voting rights, Gov. Greg Abbott did not call for the Texas Secretary of State to rescind an advisory he sent out last week that said his office found thousands of possible noncitizens on the state’s voter rolls.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Texas election officials have been removing more people from the state’s voter rolls ever since the Supreme Court struck down a part of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, according to a new report from the Brennan Center for Justice.

The group says the court’s decision to specifically strike down one provision of the law led to the rise in voter purges.

Gabriel C. Pérez

Civil rights attorneys say the Supreme Court's decision Monday in a Texas redistricting case showed how difficult it is to prove discrimination in voting laws.

The Supreme Court mostly sided with Republican lawmakers in the case, which challenged state House and congressional maps. Plaintiffs had argued lawmakers intentionally discriminated against minorities when they drew up the maps.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Between 16,000 and 17,000 Texans who said they had trouble getting a voter ID were able to sign an affidavit and vote in the last presidential election, thanks to a court order. Now lawmakers want to make it a felony if a voter signing such a form “knowingly makes a false statement or provides false information.”

Pixabay (Public Domain)

From Texas StandardA federal judge is ordering Pasadena, Texas to submit its voting system for federal approval – marking the first such order since the Supreme Court decision in 2013 striking down the heart of the Voting Rights Act.

Photo by KUT News

Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a major part of the Voting Rights Act a couple of years ago, states like Texas haven’t had federal oversight in elections.

As a result, civil rights groups have had to flag and sometimes sue state official over violations of federal voting laws ahead of this year’s election.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

There was a little-noticed lawsuit filed in federal court this week.

Lawyers representing six Latino voters in Texas argue the way we elect judges for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the Texas Supreme Court violates the Voting Rights Act because it denies Latino voters an equal opportunity to elect judges of their choice.

KUT News

Warnings that strict voter ID laws could hinder turnout among minority voters were right, according to a new study from the University of California-San Diego. It is the first research looking at a slew of voter ID laws across the country, including Texas'.


Roy Varney for KUT News

Texas' new voter ID  laws can be used to discourage minorities and women from voting. 

That's according to the nonprofit Texas Civil Rights Project. Today, it released a 63-page report criticizing the states' voter registration procedures, and a lack of voting registration opportunities.

Last June, the United States Supreme Court overturned a portion of the Voting Rights Act. The act was originally intended to protect voters from discrimination in voting matters, but the Supreme Court ruled that the application of the act, covering large parts of the South, was outdated.

After the Supreme Court’s ruling, Texas instituted a voter identification law. The law requires registered voters to present a valid form of identification to vote. The Texas Civil Rights Project would like to see the voter ID law overturned, because they say it can be used to deter minority populations from voting. 

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The Supreme Court has overturned a portion of the Voting Rights Act. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says this morning’s decision means a Texas voter ID law "will take effect immediately." Scroll down for updates. 

The high court struck down Section 4 of the act, which establishes a formula to identify portions of the county (primarily the South) where changes to elections must be approved by the Department of Justice. That was to ensure minority voting rights weren’t infringed upon.

From the court's opinion:

"Coverage today is based on decades-old data and eradicated practices. The formula captures States by reference to literacy tests and low voter registration and turnout in the 1960s and early 1970s. But such tests have been banned for over 40 years. And voter registration and turnout numbers in covered States have risen dramatically."

The court didn’t do away with Section 5 of the act – the portion that allows the Department of Justice to reject state laws it sees as discriminatory. Instead, the court says the new standards should be created, instead of the expanded coverage called for under Section 4.  

Bill Would Change Rules for Non-English Mail-In Ballots

Mar 18, 2013
flickr.com/miikka_skaffari

Lawmakers are looking at a bill today that would change the requirements for mail-in ballots in Harris County. The county would no longer need to send out ballots in a language other than English, unless it’s requested by the voter.

The Harris County clerk says it costs a lot to print and send mail-in ballots to eligible voters. That’s because the county must print ballots in four languages: English, Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese.

Once again, race is front and center at the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday. And once again, the bull's eye is the 1965 Voting Rights Act, widely viewed as the most effective and successful civil rights legislation in American history. Upheld five times by the court, the law now appears to be on life support.

The nation has twice elected an African-American president.

Black voters have been turning out for general elections in rates that for the first time in U.S. history rival those of whites.

Texas Minority Lawmakers: Keep Voting Rights Act

Feb 25, 2013
Bobby Blanchard

Representatives from minority groups are asking Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to stop fighting Section Five of the Voting Rights Act.

This Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the Shelby County v. Holder case, which challenges Section Five of the Voting Rights Act. That's the part of the act that requires federal approval of any changes to voting requirements.

While the Shelby County v. Holder case originated in Alabama, Texas State Representative Trey Martinez Fisher said this case resembles Texas cases that might be heard by the Supreme Court. Abbott's appeal of a decision that deeming Texas’ new redistricting maps discriminatory also challenges Section Five.