Closing statements made in Texas voter ID
Send a link to a friend
[September 23, 2014]
By Jon Herskovitz
AUSTIN Texas (Reuters) - A U.S. judge
heard closing arguments on Monday in a lawsuit challenging a state law
requiring Texas voters to show identification at the polls, which
plaintiffs argue is an attempt to suppress minority turnout.
The case is part of a strategy by the Obama administration to
challenge voting laws it says discriminate by race in order to
counter a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that freed states from
strict federal oversight.
After a trial in Corpus Christi that lasted about two weeks, U.S.
District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos did not indicate when she would
make a decision, meaning the law could be in effect for elections in
The trial stemmed from a battle over stringent voter ID measures
signed into law by Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry in 2011. The
measure, which supporters say will prevent voter fraud, requires
voters to present a photo ID such as a concealed handgun license or
driver's license. But it excludes student IDs.
Plaintiffs argued the law would hit elderly and poorer voters,
including racial minorities, the hardest because they are less
likely to have such IDs.
They would therefore be more likely to be turned away on voting day,
suppressing the turnout of groups who traditionally have supported
Democrats, the plaintiffs charged.
"(It) would have the effect of denying thousands of Texas voters the
ability to vote in person," their lawyers said in court papers.
Defense lawyers said the state did extensive research and there was
no evidence to show the law was discriminatory.
[to top of second column]
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in July that Texas would be
the start of his push to overturn the voter ID laws.
The Obama administration sees such statutes as discriminatory and
has launched a national rollout of cases to work around Shelby
County v. Holder, the Alabama case in which the Supreme Court
invalidated a key part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Holder has said Texas has a "history of pervasive voting-related
discrimination against racial minorities that the Supreme Court
itself has recognized."
(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Peter Cooney)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.