Fifth Circuit Rules: Texas Voter ID Law Violates VRA

August 6, 2015 / By Brittany A. Kerr, NAACP Legal Fellow

The recent Fifth Circuit decision in Veasey v. Abbot is a great victory for voting rights. The decision ruled that Texas’ strict voter ID law, was a violation of the Voting Rights Act because it would disenfranchise thousands of eligible voters. Texas’ ID law is one of the most severe, forcing voters to present government-issued photo ID at polls in order to vote.

Supporters of Texas’ ID law argue that this requirement is reasonable because, after all, “who doesn’t have an ID?” The answer is that many Texans do not possess an ID. For example, Texans that live in rural areas are less likely to possess voter IDs. Often, there are only a few DMV offices located in rural areas, making it difficult for rural voters to obtain IDs. In addition, African Americans are 1.78 times less likely than white Americans to possess an ID and Latinos are 2.42 times less likely than whites to possess an ID. These facts clearly indicate that African Americans, Hispanics and poor people are less likely to possess a voter ID and therefore less likely to vote.

The Fifth Circuit decision to invalidate Texas’ ID requirements is a huge step towards guaranteeing that all eligible Americans are truly enabled to vote. The attempt of Texas to disenfranchise voters demonstrates the need to restore the Voting Rights Act to its full power. Join us in rallying for the restoration of section 4 of the Voting Rights Act. We must ensure that no voter is without a voice. 

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