Texas’ new voter identification law remains in limbo as the U.S. Department of Justice asked on Friday for more details on how the state will implement the stricter voting requirements.
“The information sent is insufficient to enable us to determine that the proposed changes have neither the purpose nor will have the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group,” wrote T. Christian Herren Jr. , chief of the Justice Department’s voting section.
Under the federal Voting Rights Act, Texas and some other states with a history of past discrimination are required to get federal government approval, called pre-clearance, before changes to election law can go into effect.
Separately, the Justice Department on Friday also laid out its objections to some newly drawn districts for the Texas House and Congress. Those district maps, which were crafted by legislators earlier this year in the wake of the decennial census, are also subject to federal pre-clearance.
House District 149 in Williamson County is among the five statehouse districts where the federal government raised questions under the civil rights law. The new district — which includes Leander, Cedar Park and other parts of western Williamson County — replaces a Houston-area district that now has a minority representative.
Under Texas’ voter identification law, voters will be required to show government-issued identification to cast ballots.
Acceptable forms of ID include: a Texas driver’s license; a personal ID issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety; an election certificate, which is a new form of state photo identification created by the legislation; a U.S. military ID card; a U.S. passport; or a Texas concealed handgun permit. State university IDs are not acceptable.
The Justice Department has requested information about the 600,000 registered voters who lack a driver’s license or other state-issued ID: their race, where they live and whether they have Spanish surnames.
In addition, the federal government is asking for details on how the state will educate voters and election officials about the change in law and how voters can get alternative identification that will suffice for voting purposes.
Full Article: Justice Department seeks more details on Texas voter ID law.