Two weeks after Texas’ voter ID law was scheduled to go into effect, the measure is back in the U.S. Department of Justice’s hands. The Texas secretary of state’s office on Thursday submitted its latest batch of data in hopes of satisfying the federal government’s request for proof that the law, SB 14 by state Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, will not disenfranchise minority or lower-income voters. The law, passed during the 82nd Texas Legislature, would require voters to furnish a state-issued ID before casting a ballot.
Under Section 5 of the federal Voting Rights Act, the Justice Department reserves the right to review laws that affect voter participation before they are enacted. The federal government now has 60 days to review the recently submitted information and render a decision. The latest submission was the latest in a months-long exchange between the state and the federal government after the latter has repeatedly asked the state provide a specific data set about minority voters.
The state submitted its original preclearance request in July but was told in September that it did not provide adequate information for the department to determine if the “proposed changes have neither the purpose nor will have the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group.”