Washington, D.C. — On Wednesday, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ruled that Texas’ voter ID law violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits voting laws that impact voters of certain races or ethnicities. This measure, passed by the Texas legislature and which has been dubbed one of the toughest voter ID measures in the country, has been contested since 2011. Michele L. Jawando, Vice President for Legal Progress at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:
The 5th Circuit’s ruling strikes down a measure that has denied access for hundreds of thousands of Texans seeking to exercise their voices in the democratic process. Voter ID laws have proven to have a discriminatory and disenfranchising effect on African American, Hispanic, and young voters. In Texas, African American voters are 305 percent more likely than white voters to lack identification, while Hispanic voters are 195 percent more likely to be unable to produce the required documentation, and Texas’ restrictive ID requirements most likely contributed to the state’s voter turnout dropping 5 percentage points from 2010 to 2014. By the year 2019, Texas’ voting population will be at a majority-minority status. As new voters enter the electorate, it is imperative that the right to vote is fiercely protected, free of barriers and discrimination. Extreme measures such as Texas’ voter ID law must not be allowed to go forward.
Last month, the Center for American Progress released an in-depth state-by-state report on the health of state democracies. Texas ranked 40 out of 51 and received an “F” on the measure of accessibility of the ballot.
Access the full report: Health of State Democracies by Lauren Harmon, Charles Posner, Michele L. Jawando, and Matt Dhaiti
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