Federal Judge Strikes Down Texas Voter ID Law (Updated)
UPDATE (Saturday 2:30pm): The judge in the Texas Voter ID case has formally issued an injunction barring the state from enforcing the new photo identification requirements under Senate Bill 14.
Unless an appeals court intervenes, the ID requirement will not be in effect for the November election.
UPDATE (Friday, 2pm): Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott wants a federal judge who struck down the state's voter ID law to clarify her ruling by the end of today.
In a filing Friday, Abbott writes:
The scope of the planned injunction appears to be quite broad (much broader than it should be, even assuming the Court is correct regarding the merits of this case), but it is not described in any detail. Nor does the Court’s opinion announce the anticipated timing of its injunction. It is not clear if the Court’s injunction will apply to this election.
Abbott also says the judge should allow the ID requirement to stay in effect for the upcoming November election, as the case is appealed.
EARLIER: A federal judge in Corpus Christi has struck down a Texas law requiring voters to show ID before casting a ballot, calling it an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote.
The law was passed by the 2011 Texas Legislature, and has been the subject of plenty of legal wrangling ever since. Republican leaders call it a protection against voter fraud. Democrats say it's aimed at discouraging minorities from voting.
Several groups representing Hispanic voters -- along with the Justice Department -- sued the state.
In her ruling today, Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos largely agrees with the plaintiffs. She cites the limited number of accepted forms of ID as an unconstitutional barrier to the right to vote, and saying it intentionally discriminates against blacks and Hispanics.
The law has already been in effect for the past several primary and general elections.
Today's ruling stops the state from enforcing the requirement during next month’s election.
"The State of Texas will immediately appeal and will urge the Fifth Circuit to resolve this matter quickly to avoid voter confusion in the upcoming election," said Lauren Bean, a spokesperson for Texas Attorney General, and gubernatorial candidate, Greg Abbott. "The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that voter ID laws are constitutional so we are confident the Texas law will be upheld on appeal."