AG Paxton: Texas will appeal voter ID ruling

The United States District & Bankruptcy Court in Corpus Christi

U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of Corpus Christi issued an injunction permanently barring Texas from enforcing its voter ID requirements, saying the Republican-drafted law violated the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution because it was "enacted with discriminatory intent - knowingly placing additional burdens on a disproportionate number of Hispanic and African-American voters".

"Today's ruling is outrageous", Paxton said in a statement, per the Dallas Morning News.

The losses have continued piling up for Texas even as the U.S. Justice Department has essentially reversed course under the Trump administration and backed both the existing maps and revised voter ID law.

Texas has essentially been fighting to preserve the law since it was passed by the GOP-controlled Legislature in 2011.

On August 17, the Fifth District Court of Appeals ruled that Texas' restrictions on assistance to non-English-speaking voters violated the Voting Rights Act.

"It's deeply cynical that the state of Texas would implement laws that knowingly make it more hard for African-American and Latino voters to cast their ballots", he said.

Two Texas Democrats who need big turnouts if they hope to win their congressional bids next fall also praised the ruling Wednesday.

Gonzales Ramos, an appointee of President Barack Obama, has proven to be an insurmountable obstacle in Texas' quest to get court approval of its voter ID laws. Still, Texas keeps trying to adjust the law and push it through.

In Wednesday's ruling she said the state had not meaningfully improved the types of photo IDs that can be used and that she believes Texas has the most restrictive list in the nation. Ramos affirmed her decision in April. "SB 5 perpetuates the selection of types of ID most likely to be possessed by Anglo voters and, disproportionately, not possessed by Hispanics and African-Americans", Ramos wrote.

If they don't have one of those, they may vote by signing a declaration at the polls explaining why not and provide supporting documentation, like a certified birth certificate or utility bill. Texas had made the changes after the same judge compared the original version to a "poll tax" on minorities.

Texas' fight over voter ID goes on and on and on. It passed after Ramos ruling, but to the judge's chagrin, however, the list of seven required IDs did not change. "The federal district court's decisions rejecting SB 14 and SB 5 reaffirm the core objective of the hard-fought Voting Rights Act which sought to eliminate racially discriminatory barriers to voting no matter how they are disguised".

The Trump administration proposed the legislation in an effort to crack down on voter integrity within the state of Texas. "Not one of the discriminatory features of [the old law] is fully ameliorated by the terms of SB 5". Texas still excludes state government IDs and student IDs, for example, which have been accepted in other states with voter ID laws.

When he invalidated part of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that "things have changed dramatically" in the South.

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