Texas Voter ID Law Headed to a Hearing

by | Jul 9, 2012 | Austin News | 0 comments

Texas’ voter identification law is set to be heard by a panel of three federal judges beginning today in Washington.  Texas is one of around twelve states who have voter ID laws either in place or in process, Statesman.com reports.

Texas’ law is one of the most stringent in the nation because it does not allow voters to sign an affidavit if they don’t have an ID with them and it only allows a Texas driver’s license, a Department of Public Safety issued ID card, a military card, a passport, a citizenship certificate or a Texas concealed gun license to be used as ID to vote.

Texas, along with several other states, has to get the federal government’s approval of its law because of a history of voter discrimination.  Texas did not gain pre-clearance for its law because civil rights lawyers for the U.S. Department of Justice suspected it is likely to disenfranchise some minorities.  Hispanics, in particular, are much more likely to not have a driver’s license or personal identification card.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott brought the case to federal court when the Justice Department did not give pre-clearance.   The judicial panel will listen to testimony and arguments this week and if they pre-clear the law, it would be in effect for the November elections.  If it is not pre-cleared, Abbott plans to take it to the U.s. supreme Court under the argument that it isn’t fair for Texas to have to go through the pre-clearance process while other states have not had to.

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