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Texas

Appeals Court Allows Voter ID Law to Be Enforced in November Elections

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KUT News
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A federal appeals is allowing a Texas' voter ID to go ahead for the November election. The law requires voters to show an approved photo ID before casting a ballot.

The ruling comes after a federal judge in Corpus Christi struck down the law last Thursday, calling it an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote, and adding that it intentionally discriminated against Hispanics and African-Americans.

Today, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals intervened, saying the timing of the case -- just days before early voting is set to begin on October 20th -- guided their decision to allow the law to be enforced pending appeal of the lower court's ruling.

"This is not a run-of-the-mill case," the judges write. "Instead, it is a voting case decided on the eve of the election. The [lower court's ruling] substantially disturbs the election process of the State of Texas just nine days before early voting begins. Thus, the value of preserving the status quo here is much higher than in most other 
contexts."
The voter ID law, known as SB14, was passed in the 2011 legislative session. It wasn't actually enforced until 2013, when the Supreme Court struck down parts of the Voting Rights Act, which required states with a history of discrimination (including Texas) to get clearance from the federal government for any laws that change voting procedure.

After the law was put in place, several groups representing Hispanic voters -- along with the Justice Department -- sued the state, arguing it infringed on the constitutional rights of some voters.

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