New Texas voter ID law is out! Federal judge rules discriminatory

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A federal court judge on Wednesday threw out a Texas voter identification law that was supported by the Trump administration, but the state's attorney general said his office would appeal the ruling.

The Texas Legislature made changes to the law during its session earlier this year, codifying that fix, but the judge found those changes did not negate the discriminatory goal of the original law.

Paxton said he will appeal the ruling, calling it "outrageous".

Over the summer, the Texas legislation passed Senate Bill 5, which added USA passport books and cards as accepted forms of ID.

Paxton said the new law safeguards the integrity of elections and prevents voter fraud. "The 5th Circuit should reverse the entirety of the district court's ruling".

As the state waited for Ramos' final decision on the law, the Texas Legislature began working on a reworked identification requirement that allowed those without an ID to sign an affidavit attesting to the reason they couldn't get one.

The injunctions are another blow to Texas' track record on voter rights.

Ramos also declared the new law's "declaration of reasonable impediment" a form of voter intimidation.




That's three rulings against Texas for discriminating against minority voters in eight days.

Cruz, in El Paso to tour the border and meet with workers at a technology company, issued a statement Thursday predicting that the decision of U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos will be overturned by the more conservative Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

In her ruling Wednesday, Ramos said that the revised bill "remains discriminatory because it imposes burdens disproportionately on Blacks and Latinos".

Such voters would have to sign a "declaration of reasonable impediment" stating that they couldn't acquire a photo ID due to a lack of transportation, lack of a birth certificate, work schedule, disability, illness, family responsibility, or lost or stolen ID. Her group was one of several that was suing the state of Texas for its voter ID laws.

Judge Ramos, however, wrote today that "Defendants and the United States have failed to sustain their burden of proof that SB 5 fully ameliorates the discriminatory goal or result of SB 14". But Gonalzes Ramos this week rejected that version, too, and said that criminal penalties Texas attached to lying on the affidavit could scare away voters fearful of making an innocent mistake.

Ramos agreed in her ruling Wednesday.

The voter ID battle could ultimately head to the U.S. Supreme Court and become a blueprint for other states. Paxton pointed to the Trump administration's recent reversal of the Obama administration's Department of Justice argument that the Texas law was unconstitutional and violated the Voting Rights Act. "Not one of the discriminatory features of [the old law] is fully ameliorated by the terms of SB 5". In the ruling, Ramos said the law violated the Voting Rights Act, as well as the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments of the US Constitution.

The ruling has the potential of putting Texas back under restrictions of the Voting Rights Act.

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