SE Texas Record: 5 Years Later, Future of Texas Voter ID Law Still in the Hands of the Courts
In an en banc hearing on May 24, all 15 judges of the 5th Circuit heard the latest appeal by Texas to keep its voter ID law—considered the strictest in the nation—alive. With the fall elections fast approaching, the plaintiffs want the law overturned or a stay issued by a federal district court lifted soon, so that the state can prepare for elections without the strict voter ID requirements, according to Danielle Lang, a lawyer with the Campaign Legal Center, who is representing the plaintiffs.
“We asked the Supreme Court to lift the stay and put a stop to the law prior to the 2016 election,” Lang told the SE Texas Record. “Part of the reason that was important was that courts have been very hesitant to change the law too close to an election. We said that we really need to have a ruling in plenty of time to allow Texas to prepare for the November election appropriately.”
The original suit, which the plaintiffs won at the federal District Court level, outlined they ways the law would make it more difficult for minority voters to be able to cast ballots. All but one of the accepted forms of ID cost money to obtain, and even the free card requires documentation that would cost money, the suit claimed. In addition, the locations where such IDs can be acquired are often inconveniently located, and the law has a disproportionate effect on the poor and on minority voters. Lang said she is confident in the arguments, which have already prevailed several times.