Elections

Will State’s Argument For Voter Id Law Sway Federal Judge?

Battle lines drawn in federal court, challenging Texas’ voter ID law

Lawyers for the Texas Attorney General’s office are defending the state voter ID law as necessary.

The battle began when the GOP-controlled Legislature passed a law that is one of the most stringent of its kind in the country. It requires voters who show up at the polls to identify themselves with one of five forms of government-issued identification, including a driver’s license, a passport or concealed handgun license.

Marianela Acuna with Common Cause Texas, says before the law went into effect, she heard some minority voters were having problems with poll workers when they cast their vote in the primaries. She’s concerned that if the law is not overturned by the judge that many minorities would still lose their right to vote.

“They were requesting for photo-ID even though the law wasn’t in place,” said Acuna. “But also in some cases, we had voters calling, saying they were rejected from the polls, because their address and their driver’s license didn’t match their voter registration card, which is not even a  requirement right now,” said Acuna.

Jeronimo Cortina teaches political science at the University of Houston. He says whether the state’s argument will likely sway the judge hearing the case remains to be seen.

“We’re going to see at the end if this law is affirmed, or if this law is going to be sent back. If it is sent back, well it’s right on time for the November elections, which is going to play a very, very important role,” said Cortina. 

A ruling is unlikely before Election Day, which means nearly 14-million registered voters in Texas still would have to produce a photo ID come November.

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