Yesterday, a panel of three federal judges overturned a strict Texas voter ID law that threatened to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Texans, the majority of which are Black, Latino, and low-income voters.
In what they referred to as a "narrow ruling," judges decided in the State of Texas v. Eric Holder that SB 14 effectively “imposes strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor” and “a disproportionately high percentage of African Americans and Hispanics in Texas live in poverty.” The ruling joins the ranks of other recent court decisions that stand in favor of voting rights and racial equality, and reject right-wing efforts to limit access to the polls.
U.S. Circuit Judge Tatel, writer of the majority opinion, called Texas' proposed voter ID law "the most stringent in the country." Federal and Texas state ID's, military ID, certificates of election ID or of U.S. citizenship, and concealed hand gun licenses, were the only ID's permitted by the law. Student identification, Social Security cards, health insurance cards and valid out of state ID's were all prohibited.
This July, a hearing was held before the TX District Court, which has now released a 56-page decision finding that Texas failed standards set by legal precedent and "that, if implemented, SB 14 will likely have a retrogressive effect" on the electoral rights of racial minorities. The justices made clear that the decision was by no means a commentary on the legality of voter identification at large, but solely in respect to the provision introduced in Texas. As long as access to identification was reasonable and free, the judges stated they would rule more favorably.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abott has already expressed intent to appeal to the Supreme Court. The fight for fair elections and unfettered access to the polls continues.
Visit vote.colorofchange.org to register to vote and access all the information you need to cast your ballot this November.