Updated: Sept. 23, 2011, 6:54PM
The Justice Department hasn’t yet precleared a voter ID law signed by Republican presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R). In a Friday letter officials wrote that they need to know more about how the state would alert voters to the changes to the law.Federal officials also want a detailed description of when and where the state will make free identification certificates available, as well as specifics on how they will educate the public about when such certificates will be available.
Texas officials said that 605,576 residents do not have a Texas drivers license or photo ID card. DOJ wants to know how many of those residents without IDs have Spanish surnames.
Because Texas has a history of discrimination, the state is required to have changes to their voting laws precleared by federal officials under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. In paperwork to the Justice Department asking for preclearance, Texas officials cited the controversial approval of Georgia’s voter ID law.
A coalition of state and national voter ID and civil rights groups had asked the Justice Department not to preclear the law earlier this month, writing that it was unnecessary, unfair, restrictive and intentionally discriminates against African-American and Latino voters.
Texas has to get back to DOJ within 60 days.
Get the day’s best political analysis, news and reporting from the TPM team delivered to your inbox every day with DayBreaker. Sign up here, it takes just a few seconds.