The U.S. prides itself on being the world’s greatest democracy, but across the country, millions of people are denied the right to vote. More than half of all states require voters to show ID when they cast a ballot, yanking the most vulnerable in U.S. society from the electoral process. On Monday, a federal judge ruled that Texas’ electoral law, which requires voters to show photo ID before casting a ballot, intentionally discriminates against black and Hispanic voters. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, ethnic minorities, along with low-income, disabled and elderly voters, are less likely to have government-issued identification.
Before the ruling—the fifth time in four years a court has found Texas’ voting laws discriminatory—a Texas voter was required to show one of six types of photo ID. If they failed to provide any, they could cast a provisional ballot and either present identification within six days of doing so or declare that they had a religious objection to being photographed or had lost their identification in a natural disaster.
In July, a federal appeals court ruled that the legislation violated the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which prohibits electoral discrimination. The court’s ruling meant that during the November presidential election, voters who lacked ID were permitted to sign an affidavit declaring they were registered to vote in Texas. This angered some Texan Republicans who supported voter ID laws and claim that voter fraud is a growing problem in the U.S. Voters without government-issued IDs are more likely to vote Democrat.