While a federal judge in Corpus Christi mulls whether the state’s requirement to show photo ID to cast a ballot violates the federal Voting Rights Act, a judge on the highest criminal appeals court in Texas is taking another approach: He’s suing the state over its relatively new voter ID law. Judge Lawrence “Larry” Meyers’ lawsuit, filed in Dallas County, claims the voting law enacted last year violates the Texas Constitution because it attempts to “prevent” voter fraud, something he says the state’s governing charter never intended. Meyers’ lawsuit states that “the Texas Constitution gives the Texas Legislature power solely to ‘detect and punish’ election fraud when it has already occurred.” In an interview on Wednesday, Meyers said the Constitution says nothing about preventing election fraud. “It’s legally unconstitutional and it’s an affront to every voter in the state of Texas,” Meyers said.
Calls to the Texas Attorney General’s office regarding who would be defending the state’s voter ID law if Meyers’ case moves forward were not immediately returned.
Since 1992, Meyers has held a place on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals as a Republican. But he switched parties a year ago and is now the Democratic nominee running in the Nov. 4 election for a place on the Texas Supreme Court against incumbent Jeff Brown and Libertarian Mark Ash.
Meyers dismisses possible criticism of his suit being a campaign gimmick.
“I’m a voter like everybody else,” he said. “I’m not doing this for publicity. I am doing this because it’s completely legally unconstitutional.”
Meyers, who is Catholic, said he started looking into the voter ID law after nuns who belong to orders in his hometown of Fort Worth expressed concern because the law requires photo identification many of them don’t possess.