Supreme Court is allowing Texas to use strict voter ID law in...

Supreme Court is allowing Texas to use strict voter ID law in Nov. election

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On Saturday, the Supreme Court gave Texas the approval to move forward with implementing a strict voter identification law in the upcoming midterm election.

Adam Liptak for The New York Times wrote:

“The law, enacted in 2011, requires voters seeking to cast their ballots at the polls to present photo identification like a Texas driver’s or gun license, a military ID or a passport.

Those requirements, Justice Ginsburg wrote, “may prevent more than 600,000 registered Texas voters (about 4.5 percent of all registered voters) from voting in person for lack of compliant identification.”

“A sharply disproportionate percentage of those voters are African-American or Hispanic,” she added, adding that “racial discrimination in elections in Texas is no mere historical artifact.”

Texas officials quarreled with Justice Ginsburg’s math, which was drawn from evidence presented to a trial court. In their brief urging the justices to allow the election to proceed under the 2011 law, they said that trying to determine the number of people the law would deter from voting was a fool’s errand and called the estimate of 600,000 disenfranchised voters preposterous.

Justice Ginsburg also said the law “replaced the previously existing voter identification requirements with the strictest regime in the country.”

She noted that Texas would not accept several forms of ID that Wisconsin did, including “a photo ID from an in-state four-year college and one from a federally recognized Indian tribe.” The Supreme Court on Oct. 9 refused to let Wisconsin use its voter ID law in the current election.”

The Texas voter ID law is designed to making voting more difficult for certain populations, and actual incidences of voter fraud occurring are rare. A recent analysis by Loyola University Law School Professor Justin Levitt found 31 incidences of voter impersonation out of one billion ballots cast in elections from 2000 to 2014. The kind of voter fraud where voter identifications would make a difference is not at all a frequent occurrence.

Photo credit: Supreme Court Building, Mark Fischer via Flickr

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