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Fate of Texas' Voter ID Law to Be Determined in Court

Fate of Texas' Voter ID Law to Be Determined in Court

HOUSTON, Texas — A judge in Corpus Christi, Texas will decide the fate of the Lone Star State’s new voter identification law, which requires citizens to show a photo ID at the polls. The judge, Nelva Gonzales Ramos, will start hearing arguments on Tuesday of this week. 

Texas Governor Rick Perry signed the rules into law in 2011, according to the Associated Press (AP). The law requires voters to show one of six types of photo IDs. A college ID card, however, is not acceptable.

Those on the left reportedly complain that the rules discriminate against minorities and “suppress turnout.” They also take issue with the fact that a Texas concealed handgun license is accepted as a valid ID for voting–in their view, this form of ID “shows Republicans are trying to impose obstacles on those who typically vote Democratic,” the AP reported. 

But others assert that the guidelines are necessary to ensure integrity at the voting booths. Proponents of the rules also point out that residents of Texas may obtain from IDs at any of the state’s Department of Public Safety locations. 

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), headed by Attorney General Eric Holder, is attempting to strike down voter ID laws in conservative states like Texas. Minority-rights groups initially filed sued the State of Texas over the new law, but the DOJ subsequently joined in on the fight. 

State attorneys, on the other hand, remain firm in their belief that the rules do not unfairly target minorities. 

The Sate of Texas reportedly wrote in a filing regarding the matter,  “After deposing numerous state legislators and legislative staff members, and after reviewing the record of this case, DOJ is unable to identify any statement made by any Texas legislator or staffer that evinces a desire to harm racial minorities.”

At this point, is is unlikely that the trial on the rules will conclude before November’s elections. This means that Texans will be made to abide by the rules, and show one of the six acceptable forms of ID. 

The AP reported that during the two elections since the law passed in 2011, there were no reports of large number of voters being turned away at the polls. In fact, in 2013, election attorneys reportedly logged half the number of complaints as it did during the previous election cycle. 

The Obama Administration has been very vocal in opposing conservative states’ voter ID laws. In February, Vice President Joe Biden said that “hatred” is the force behind such rules. He implied that the laws enable “former slave holding states in the south” to discriminate against minorities. 

Despite the rhetoric put forward by the Obama Administration, it appears that the majority of American are in favor of voter ID laws. Breitbart News previously reported on a McClatchy poll, which showed that 83 percent of those polled believed laws requiring voters to “show identification in order to vote” is a “good thing.” Only 13 percent believed such rules are a “bad thing.” 

Follow Kristin Tate @KristinBTate

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