Federal Judge Approves Of Agreement To Soften Texas’ Voter ID Law

FILE - In this Feb. 26, 2014 file photo, an election official checks a voter's photo identification at an early voting polling site in Austin, Texas. A majority of the nation's highest court on Saturday Oct. 18, 2014... FILE - In this Feb. 26, 2014 file photo, an election official checks a voter's photo identification at an early voting polling site in Austin, Texas. A majority of the nation's highest court on Saturday Oct. 18, 2014 rejected an emergency request from the Justice Department and civil rights groups to prohibit the state from requiring voters to produce certain forms of photo identification in order to cast ballots. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File) MORE LESS
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A federal judge approved Wednesday of an agreement reached between the state of Texas and the parties that sued over its voter ID law that will soften that restriction ahead of November’s election.

U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos greenlit the terms presented to her court last week by Texas and the challengers, while pushing back on some attempts by Texas to tweak the agreement after the deal had been reached, according to court documents. She also requested that Texas and the challengers work out the details of the training and education program to instruct poll workers and voters of the softened law’s new protocols. She ordered that they present that plan to the court later this week.

The proceedings come after a majority of the full 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, one of the most conservative courts in the country, said Texas’ voter ID law violated the federal Voting Rights Act because it had a discriminatory effect on minority voters. The Texas Attorney General’s office has since floated the possibility that it still may appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.

Texas had been sued for the 2011 law—which the state was only able to implement after the Supreme Court ruling Shelby County v. Holder gutted a Voting Rights Act requirement that Texas get federal approval for changes to its election policies— by individuals as well as various civil rights and voter advocacy groups. The Department of Justice also joined in the lawsuit.

Under the terms of the agreement Ramos approved, voters in the state will be able sign a statement affirming their identity and their inability to show one of the forms of required ID. In lieu of one of the forms of required ID, voters will then be able to show a valid voter registration certificate, a certified birth certificate, a current utility bill, a bank statement, a government check, a paycheck or any other government document that displays the voter’s name and address.

After reaching the agreement last week, Texas sought to alter it in order to stress the agreement was just an interim remedy to the law. The state further requested that new language be included in the statement to be signed by voters, emphasizing they are swearing under penalty of perjury that they face an impediment to attaining the required forms of ID. The state also asked that language be added to the agreement asserting its legal rights in defending the law.

The court on Wednesday denied the two first requests, but allowed the inclusion of language permitting Texas to continue to oppose legal challenges to the law.

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Notable Replies

  1. Yes. Voter ID = vote suppression of non GOP inclined voters. Kudos to the court for getting it.

  2. The court on Wednesday denied the two first requests, but allowed the inclusion of language permitting Texas to continue to oppose legal challenges to the law.

    Not to swift on the old uptake there, are ya, Texas? How many more time do you want to lose?

  3. The State of Texas is gambling/hoping Trump will be nominating the next justices to the high court.

  4. Via the 2nd Amendment?

  5. Avatar for paulw paulw says:

    A certified copy of a birth certificate, which is the basis of every other bleeping bleeping piece of identification a person can obtain in this country, is not sufficient by itself in Texas. Okaaaaaaaay.

    But a carry permit is. Yep, I can see how even the fifth circuit got tired of this.

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