Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott this week asked a federal court in Washington to prevent 12 state lawmakers from giving depositions in the state’s voter identification case. The U.S. Department of Justice, which is facing off against Abbott’s office in a case to allow Texas’ voter ID law to go into effect, has asked to depose — or question under oath — the author of the voter ID bill, Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay; its House sponsor, Rep. Patricia Harless, R-Spring; and other lawmakers. Texas’ voter ID law, which passed last spring, would require a voter to present a valid form of government-issued photo identification — such as a Texas driver’s license, Department of Public Safety-issued ID card, military card, passport, citizenship certificate or Texas concealed gun license — before casting a ballot.
In addition to deposing lawmakers, the Justice Department is seeking copies of written communications among members of the Legislature, communications between legislators and staffers and communications between legislators and their constituents. The state’s motion called the Justice Department’s requests “an unwarranted federal intrusion into the operations of the Texas Legislature.” Officials at the Justice Department declined to comment.
Gary Bledsoe — lawyer for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which has sided with the Justice Department as a defendant and an intervener in the case — said the depositions and documents sought by federal lawyers are essential to understanding the purpose behind the law.