Lawyers for the U.S Department of Justice and minority groups once again made the case that Texas’ controversial Voter ID law improperly discriminates against Latino and African American voters during closing arguments in federal court Monday. Attorneys for the Texas attorney general will present closing arguments later Monday. The closing arguments are scheduled to last three hours and are expected to end later Monday. The state has argued the law is constitutional, popular and essential to combat voter fraud. However, cases of in-person voter fraud, which a law like this would help prevent, are rare. Plaintiffs’ attorneys have argued that the voter fraud concerns are simply a rouse to impose new requirements that make it harder for minority voters to cast their ballots. The Voter ID law is a “serious problem in search of a solution,” said Richard Dellheim, an attorney with the Justice Department. “That problem is that it violates the Voting Rights Act.”
The law requires that voters provide a driver license, an election identification card, personal identification card, passport, concealed-carry license, military ID, or a citizenship certificate with a photo, to cast a ballot at the polls. Other common forms of government identification, including those with photos like student identification cards issued by colleges or universities, are not acceptable under the law.
Dellheim pointed to a data analysis commissioned by the Justice Department, which found that African American voters were four times more likely than Anglo voters to lack the types of photo identification required by the Voter ID bill to cast a ballot in person. Hispanic voters, he said, were three times as likely. According to that analysis, there are more than 600,000 voters in Texas who are eligible to vote, but lack the required identification.