Federal judge throws out Texas' voter ID law

The United States District & Bankruptcy Court in Corpus Christi

"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 in a statement.

The state of Texas appealed her decision to the United States 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that the law had discriminatory effects but sent the law back to Ramos to determine whether those effects were intended consequences of the law. The majority of voter fraud that happens in the state is related to mail-in ballot manipulation.

Those challenging the Texas law also asked Ramos to require Texas to get federal approval for any election law changes under a Voting Rights Act provision for jurisdictions found to intentionally discriminate. Moreover, Wednesday's decision was the eighth finding of intentional discrimination by the courts against Texas since 2011.

In the revised version, the Texas Legislature allowed voters who did not possess an approved ID were allowed to fill out a Declaration of Reasonable Impediment (DRI), explaining the reason they did not have an ID.

Wednesday's ruling is particularly significant because, unlike earlier court rulings, it doesn't soften the voter ID law but strikes it down entirely.

"This feature remains discriminatory because 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.
Those who lied on the affidavit could be prosecuted for perjury.

"Because of ignorance, a lack of confidence, or poor literacy, they may be unable to claim an impediment to which they are entitled for fear that their opinion on the matter would not comport with a trained prosecutor's legal opinion". Texas had made the changes after the same judge compared the original version to a "poll tax" on minorities. Ramos also said the threat of prosecution appeared to be an effort at voter intimidation. Concealed handgun permits made the list, but not student IDs.

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.

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

The Republican law violates both Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act as well equal protection protections under the U.S. Constitution, according to the court.

Paxton said the U.S. Justice Department had argued on behalf of the revised law.

But the Department of Justice withdrew from the case after President Donald Trump appointed former Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions as USA attorney general, and Sessions was confirmed by the Senate. The ruling is the latest loss for Texas on the issue of voting rights.

A three-judge panel in San Antonio Federal Court ruled on August 15 that Texas gerrymandered two congressional districts to prevent Latinos from picking their preferred candidates, and ordered that the districts be partially redrawn before the 2018 elections.

Texas has essentially been fighting to preserve the law since it was passed by the GOP-controlled Legislature in 2011.

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