Progress in the Courts Protected Voters from Texas’s Original Discriminatory Voter ID Law

Voter walking into polling place

On April 27, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit released a decision on the longstanding legal challenge to Texas’s voter ID law, Veasey v. Abbott. While this gave Texas the green light to enforce its revised voter ID law in future elections, it is important that we not lose sight of the important progress achieved through years of legal battles in the state. CLC represents a group of plaintiffs who challenged the law as burdening the fundamental right to vote. Because of the bravery of CLC’s clients and our litigation strategy, we successfully proved to the full panel of the 5th Circuit that Texas’ discriminatory voter ID law violated the Voting Rights Act and could not be enforced as is in the 2016 presidential election.

As a result of the progress we made, in the 2016 election, all voters were able to cast a ballot for the first time since before 2013. If a voter did not have the required ID, they could sign a declaration, present another form of non-photo ID, such as a utility bill or bank statement, and cast a regular ballot. Texas has now adopted that system into its law and no longer seeks to enforce its prior discriminatory law.

The work continues to ensure that voters are educated about their options and not deterred from exercising their voting rights due to confusion around the voter ID rules.