Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott filed suit against the Department of Justice today in an effort to speed enforcement of the state’s new voter ID law.
The Justice Department, which must conclude that the voter ID law does not unfairly disadvantage minority voters, has been reviewing the law for the past six months and has twice asked state officials to supply additional information on the racial breakdown of Texas voters. Fearing further delays, particularly after justice officials rejected South Carolina’s similar voter ID law last month, Abbott today asked a federal court to intervene and approve the Texas law. “The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that voter identification laws are constitutional,” Abbott said. “Texas should be allowed the same authority other states have to protect the integrity of elections. The Texas law, approved by the Legislature last year, requires most voters to show government-issued photo identification before voting.
Disabled Texans, as determined by Social Security or the Department of Veterans Affairs, are exempt from the requirement, as are disabled voters and those over age 65 who vote by mail. Voters without a valid ID would still be allowed to cast a provisional ballot that would be accepted if they present proper identification to an election registrar within six days of the election. In addition, the law makes “election identification certificates” available from the Department of Public Safety at no charge.
Under the Voting Rights Act, Texas is among the states with a history of voting discrimination that must receive “preclearance” for any law or electoral change that affects voters. States also may seek preclearance from the U.S. District Court in District Columbia – the route Abbott took today. According to Abbott’s lawsuit, the U.S. Supreme Court has found that photo-identification laws are “nondiscriminatory.”
Full Article: Abbott sues DOJ over voter ID law | Postcards.