Federal Court Slaps Down Texas Voter ID Law—Again

The state’s attempt at a fix is still discriminatory, a judge rules.

In 2016, a Texas polling place sign tells voters of identification requirements based off of the state's 2011 voter I.D. law, which a federal court found intentionally discriminatory.AP

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On Wednesday, a federal judge in Corpus Christi issued a permanent injunction against Texas’s draconian voter ID law, which intentionally discriminates against black and Latino Texans in violation of the Voting Rights Act, the court said. The law in question is revised version of earlier legislation that required residents to present one of seven accepted forms of identification at the polls in order to cast a ballot. The options included gun licenses and a variety of government-issued IDs (but not state university IDs), skewing in favor of IDs more likely to be held by whites.

After a federal court deemed the original law discriminatory, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the law’s language would need to be softened before it could pass muster. In June, the legislature passed a modified version that retained many of the restrictive requirements present in the original.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton responded to Wednesday’s ruling with a statement promising to appeal the lower court’s “outrageous” new decision. “The U.S. Department of Justice is satisfied the amended voter ID law has no discriminatory purpose or effect,” he said. “Safeguarding the integrity of elections in Texas is essential to preserving our democracy.”

Indeed, after Donald Trump was elected, the DOJ withdrew its Obama-era claim that Texas lawmakers had passed the bill with discriminatory intent. In July, the department filed a court document in support of the revised bill.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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