Texas Loses Latest Voter ID Battle after Judges Strike Down ‘Retrogressive’ Law
Judges find that law requiring voters to present photo ID at the ballot box placed ‘unforgiving burdens on the poor’
By Chris McGreal
Beaver County Blue via The Guardian, UK
August 30, 2012 – The court said that the law was ‘likely to have a retrogressive effect’ by limiting access to the ballot box. Photograph: Mario Tama/Getty
A federal court has struck down a Texas law requiring voters to present photo identification at the ballot box in the second ruling this week to effectively accuse the state of racial discrimination and attempting to manipulate elections.
In an escalating legal battle between mostly Republican-controlled states and the Obama administration over voter ID and other election laws, a panel of three judges in Washington DC found that the Texas legislation imposed "strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor" because of the cost and process involved in obtaining identification.
The US justice department told the court that voters would have to pay for birth certificates and travel up to 250 miles to obtain ID cards. The court said this imposed a "heavy burden" on any voter and would be "especially daunting for the working poor" who are more likely to be racial minorities.
The court concluded that if the law was implemented it "will likely have a retrogressive effect" by limiting access to the ballot box. It said that evidence submitted by Texas in support of its claim that the law was not discriminatory – and was necessary to combat voter fraud – was "unpersuasive, invalid, or both".