Opponents of Texas’ strict voter ID law are likely to get their day in court this September—meaning the controversial measure could be struck down before the November election. Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos indicated in a hearing Wednesday that she was reluctant to delay the trial until 2015, according to Jose Garza, a lawyer for the Mexican-American Legislative Caucus (MALC), which is among the plaintiffs challenging the law, known as S.B. 14. “The judge is fairly adamant that because of the impending election, it’s important to have a trial on S.B. 14 as early as possible,” Garza told reporters Wednesday afternoon, after attending the hearing. “And in her mind, that appears to be Sept. 2.” Garza said it’s “likely” that the judge will officially set Sept. 2 as the trial date at a hearing this Friday.
Getting rid of the law before November could be a boon to Wendy Davis, whose campaign for governor is working with allies to register hundreds of thousands of new voters, mostly blacks and Latinos. Rep. Pete Gallego, who faces a close race in the heavily Latino 23rd district, could also benefit.
The U.S. Justice Department, which is also challenging the law under the Voting Rights Act, had asked for the delay, in order to have time to gather and analyze the government data that, it says, will show that the law disproportionately hurts blacks and Hispanics. But MALC and other challengers want a trial this fall, because they’re worried that voters could be disenfranchised in November if the law is left standing.