Federal appeals court panel upholds Texas voter ID law

Federal appeals court panel upholds Texas voter ID law

April 28 (UPI) — A panel of federal appeals court judges upheld a Texas voter ID law that civil rights advocates challenged, concluding that lawmakers had fixed its discriminatory flaws.

“The legislature succeeded in its goal,” judges from U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruling wrote in their ruling.

The 2-1 decision reverses a lower court decision that blocked the law’s implementation. That earlier ruling decided the law, enacted in 2011, intentionally discriminated against black and Hispanic voters.

Civil rights advocates argued that the photo ID requirement under the 2011 state law was a poll tax and caused a disparate burden on minorities in violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

However, the defense argued that flaws were fixed by Senate Bill 5, which lawmakers passed last year. SB 5 allows voters to vote without photo ID if they present alternative ID and swear to a “reasonable impediment,” that could include transportation, disability or illness.

“The State has acted promptly following this court’s mandate, and there is no equitable basis for subjecting Texas to ongoing federal election scrutiny,” the ruling stated.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton praised Friday’s ruling.

“The court rightly recognized that when the Legislature passed Senate Bill 5 last session, it complied with every change the 5th Circuit ordered to the original voter ID law,” Paxton said in a Texas Tribune report. “Safeguarding the integrity of our elections is essential to preserving our democracy. The revised voter ID law removes any burden on voters who cannot obtain a photo ID.”

But Judge James Graves Jr., who dissented from the majority, said that the law still intentionally discriminated against minorities.

“A hog in a silk waistcoat is still a hog,” Graves said in his dissenting opinion.