Advocates and opponents of Texas’ voter ID law faced off in documents Sunday over whether the now-unconstitutional requirement should be lifted as early as next week, with both sides arguing that their timeline would better prevent confusion at the polls. In a filing made public Sunday, the state of Texas wrote that declaring the law void only a week before early voting begins will seep confusion into this year’s election cycle. The state is asking for an emergency delay, or a stay, in the U.S. District Court’s order until after Nov. 4 while Greg Abbott, the attorney general and Republican nominee for governor, appeals the lower court’s ruling. The plaintiffs, who won Thursday when the district judge in Corpus Christi said the law constituted a modern-day “poll tax” and discriminated against minority voters, replied in their own filing Sunday that the courts could not allow a law deemed unconstitutional to govern an election, even if that meant changing election law at the last minute.
Should the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals grant the stay – a decision which could come as soon as Monday – then the Supreme Court could ultimately be called upon to determine whether the law remains in place this fall.
The question at the heart of Sunday’s filings is whether the elimination of Texas’ voter ID law, Senate Bill 14, would create confusion among voters who have heard for over a year about the new identification they will need to vote. The law, implemented in 2013, requires registered voters to show appropriate photo identification before entering the voting booth.
The U.S. Department of Justice argued that relaxing the state’s identification law will not make any voters ineligible to cast a ballot.