A Texas law previously struck down requiring voters to show authorized identification before casting ballots will be re-examined, the U.S. Court for Appeals for the Fifth Circuit said on Wednesday. The court, which said its full bench of judges will participate, did not set a date or elaborate on why it will hold the review of the law a three-judge panel from the court said in an August 2015 decision violated the U.S. Voting Rights Act through its “discriminatory effects.” The measure was signed into law in 2011 by then Texas Governor Rick Perry, a Republican, and has been in effect since even as the legal challenges have wound their way through the courts. Plaintiffs have argued the law hits elderly and poorer voters, including minorities, hardest because they are less likely to have such identification. They contend the measure is used by Republicans as a way suppressing voters who typically align with Democrats. The measure, which supporters say will prevent voter fraud, requires voters to present a photo identification such as a driver’s license, passport or military ID card.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican welcomed the court’s decision. “Today’s decision is a strong step forward in our efforts to defend the state’s Voter ID laws. Safeguarding the integrity of our elections is a primary function of state government and is essential to preserving our democratic process,” he said in a statement.
Critics contend that voter fraud is a miniscule problem overblown by Republicans for political purposes. Republicans contend voter fraud erodes the fabric of the democratic process. Civil rights groups have urged the court not to re-hear the case.