A controversial law requiring Texas voters to show a photo ID at the polls remains unenforceable because it discriminates against Latinos, the Department of Justice said Monday. In a letter to the Office of the Texas Secretary of State, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said registered Latino voters are almost twice as likely as non-Latinos not to have a photo identification. Somewhere between 6.3 and 10.8 percent of registered Latino voters in Texas do not have a state-issued photo ID.
The precise figure is not clear because the Texas state government sent the Justice Department two different sets of data about the state’s voters without indicating which was more accurate, the letter says. “Even using the data most favorable to the state, Hispanics disproportionately lack either a driver’s license or a personal identification card,” Thomas Perez of the Justice Department wrote.
The Texas Secretary of State’s Office said in a statement that the two figures, one sent in September 2011 and one in January 2012, were not intended to match. The Justice Department says requiring those voters without photo ID to obtain one would present a cost of at least $22 for a birth certificate copy. The Texas legislature did not take measures to provide necessary documents to voters free of charge and the state government has not enacted a campaign to make voters aware of their obligations under the new law, the letter says.