Houston Matters

Judge Strikes Down Latest Texas Voter ID Law

A federal judge says the measure, passed in June, still falls short of mitigating discrimination in Texas’ voter ID law.

Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of the Southern District of Texas ruled Wednesday (Aug. 23, 2017) the state acted with discriminatory intent with its pair of voter ID measures and granted a permanent injunction against them.

During the 2016 election, the original voter ID law (SB 14) was blocked by a federal judge. And, in response, lawmakers in June passed a second measure (SB 5) that allowed voters who lacked a photo ID to cast a ballot as long as they signed a declaration.

Judge Ramos wrote in her decision that the second measure still fell “far short of mitigating the discriminatory provisions of SB 14.” She says both measures discriminate against blacks and Latinos.

“SB 5 perpetuates the selection of types of ID most likely to be possessed by Anglo voters and, disproportionately, not possessed by Hispanics and African-Americans,” she wrote.

Texas Attorney Gen. Ken Paxton decried the decision and vowed to appeal it to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

“Today’s ruling is outrageous,” Paxton said in a statement. “Senate Bill 5 was passed by the people’s representatives and includes all the changes to the Texas voter ID law requested by the 5th Circuit,” Paxton said.

To discuss the ruling and it’s impact, Charles “Rocky” Rhodes from South Texas College of Law Houston joins us.