Texas and the Justice Department began their federal court fight on Monday in a trial over Texas’ new voter ID law, which requires all voters to show a government-issued photo ID in order to vote. Back in March, the Justice Department blocked the law on the grounds that they felt it might discriminate against minority voters. As a result, Texas fired back with a lawsuit against Attorney General Eric Holder. At issue is a 2011 law passed by Texas’ GOP-dominated Legislature that requires voters to show photo identification when they head to the polls. The state argued Monday that the law represents the will of the people and does not run afoul of the Voting Rights Act, passed in 1965 to ensure minorities’ right to vote. The opening statements from both sides of the argument have set the stage for a legal battle over the federal Voting Rights Act.
“Texas Democrats, like their national counterparts, have been wholly out of step with their constituents,” said Adam Mortara, a lawyer representing Texas. “Voters want photo ID.” Mortara said the state’s new statute is in line with similar laws that have cleared legal challenges in Indiana and Georgia. He also said the Justice Department would not be able to prove that any voters — and particularly minority voters — would be hindered by the law. “It’s really quite difficult to find anyone who’s registered to vote who doesn’t already have a photo ID,” he said during Texas’ opening statement.
Lawyers for the Justice Department strongly disputed Texas’ view. Elizabeth Westfall, in her opening for the Justice Department, said the evidence would show as many as 1.4 million voters lack any form of acceptable identification under Texas’ new law. She also stressed Texas wouldn’t be able to prove there was no intent to discriminate against minority voters when it passed the law. “Texas will be unable to meet its burden,” she said.
Full Article: Texas Voter ID Case Begins, Stirs Debate | Fox News Latino.