Voter Suppression

Conservative Dominated Court Strikes Down Texas Voter ID Law

Written by SK Ashby

Good news -- a federal court has struck down the Texas voter ID law signed into law by former Governor Rick Perry.

Amazingly, the infamously conservative Fifth Circuit Court ruled that the law violates the Voting Rights Act.

via Ian Millhiser at ThinkProgress

As Judge Catharina Haynes explained in her opinion on behalf of the Fifth Circuit, one analysis determined that “Hispanic registered voters and Black registered voters were respectively 195% and 305% more likely than their Anglo peers to lack” a voter ID in the state of Texas. Indeed, even Texas’s own numbers confirmed that voter ID laws disproportionately impact racial minorities. Their own expert “found that 4% of eligible White voters lacked SB 14 ID, compared to 5.3% of eligible Black voters and 6.9% of eligible Hispanic voters.”

Similarly, low-income voters are much less likely to have ID then their wealthier counterparts. The district court in this case “credited expert testimony that 21.4% of eligible voters earning less than $20,000 per year lack SB 14 ID, compared to only 2.6% of voters earning between $100,000 and $150,000 per year.”

This wide disparity was evidently too much for the Fifth Circuit to ignore; a court that has ruled against a wide range of causes, from President Obama's executive orders on immigration to the defunding of women's health clinics in Texas.

As Millhiser points out, a 3 judge panel from the Fifth Circuit may have struck down the law, but the full 15 member panel of the court may rule otherwise.

In any event, this could end up being decided by the Supreme Court.