A U.S. District Court blocked a new voter ID law in Texas that conflicts with the Voting Rights Act. The court ruled that the laws stipulations, “fall most heavily on the poor and that a disproportionately high percentage of African-Americans and Hispanics in Texas live in poverty.”
“By blocking this law, the court reaffirmed the right of all people in this country to participate in our democracy,” said Nancy Abudu, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Voting Rights Project, which represented Texas-based organizations and individuals in the case.
The ACLU said the three-judge panel in Washington “removed a stumbling block that opponents of the law argued could keep up to 1.5 million Texas voters from the polls in November, the majority of whom are Hispanic or Black.”
“An attack on the right to vote is under way across the country through laws designed to make it more difficult to cast a ballot. While based in terms of voter fraud, these laws will actually have their greatest impact by limiting participation of African Americans, Latinos, Asians and the young. Today a three judge panel in Washington, DC found that the Texas Voter ID law violates the Voting Rights Act of 1965,” said Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee reacting to today’s decision.
The ACLU further pointed out the importance of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
“This case demonstrates precisely why we still need Section 5 in 2012,” said Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas. “Without the process of federal review it mandates, democracy would have failed the largely minority population who cannot afford to purchase the underlying documents, travel long distances – up to 100 miles in some cases – or take off work to get to the closest government office that issues photo identification.”
LAUREN VICTORIA BURKE, Politic365 Managing Editor, publishes the blog Crewof42 on the Congressional Black Caucus. She can be heard every Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET on WMCS 1290 in Milwaukee on Earl Ingram’s show The Earl Ingram Show as well as on WPFW 89.3 every Friday at 6:30 p.m. Ms. Burke is a former employee of USAToday.com and ABC News. You can e-mail her at LBurke007@gmail.com follow her on twitter @Crewof42.