Texas’ controversial voter ID bill was struck down again, this time by a three-judge panel in Washington D.C. that determined the bill would disenfranchise certain segments of the voting-age population.
The bill, SB 14 sponsored by state Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, requires that citizens furnish a photo ID before casting a ballot, and has been championed by supporters as a necessary tool to stamp out voter fraud in Texas.
Opponents argue that the bill would adversely affect voters who don’t have easy access to an ID, something the court agreed with in its ruling. Under Section 5 of the federal Voting Rights Act, the federal government must approve laws passed in states with a history of racial discrimination.
“We find that Texas has failed to make this showing—in fact, record evidence demonstrates that, if implemented, SB 14 will likely have a retrogressive effect,” the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia judges wrote in their opinion. “Given this, we have no need to consider whether Texas has satisfied section 5’s purpose element. Accordingly we deny the state’s request for a declaratory judgment.”
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said the state will appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“The Supreme Court of the United States has already upheld Voter ID laws as a constitutional method of ensuring integrity at the ballot box,” he said in a written statement. “Today’s decision is wrong on the law and improperly prevents Texas from implementing the same type of ballot integrity safeguards that are employed by Georgia and Indiana – and were upheld by the Supreme Court. The State will appeal this decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, where we are confident we will prevail.”
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