State Rep. Poncho Nevárez pre-filed 3 bills, HB534, HB535, and HB536 regarding the Texas voter ID law enacted in 2011, which was ruled unconstitutional by a Federal District Court Judge in early October. Judge Nelva Gonzalez Ramos struck down the voter ID law expressing that it “creates an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote” and results in “an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African Americans” while also constituting a “poll tax.” Although the U.S. Supreme Court permitted the Texas voter ID law to be enforced in the past elections in November, pending its appeal, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and Justice Elena Kagan dissented explaining that more than 600,000 registered Texas voters may be prevented from voting due to lack of the proper identification.
Justice Ginsburg also reflected on the evidence provided that demonstrated that many voters would have to travel long distances to obtain the proper identification as well as incur fees to pay for such, thus creating a poll tax.
While proponents of the voter ID law have claimed the purpose of the law is to combat voter fraud, there have only been two convictions of in-person voter impersonation fraud in the 10 years prior to enactment of the voter ID law, as expressed in the court’s findings. In addition to in-person voter impersonation fraud being rare, Texas has one of the strictest voter ID laws in the nation. The Texas voter ID law only allows for 7 acceptable forms of identification.