Conservatives typically favor enacting stricter voter ID laws to prevent voter fraud. However, such measures are often challenged by liberals in court on grounds of discrimination or voter suppression. Texas has spent years fighting for its voter ID law, and has now received favorable news from a federal appeals court.
According to Politico, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday stayed an injunction from a lower court that blocked a Texas law which enacted stricter Voter ID restrictions. The law, supported by Texas conservatives, will finally go into effect.
The new voter ID law, championed by Texas Republicans (including Governor Greg Abbott), requires the presentation of legitimate identification in order to be allowed to vote. State Democrats criticized the law for not being lenient enough.
Contrary to the wishes of Texas’ political Left, the voter ID law does not expand the list of qualifying forms of identification to ones that are considered easier to obtain, such as college IDs. However, it does include gun licenses.
The legal battle began with the passing of voter ID law SB-14 in 2011. It was struck down by US District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos, who argued the SB-14 discriminated on the basis of race.
In response, Texas passed a revised voter law in 2013, designated SB-5. The new measure allowed voters to cast their ballots without voter ID, but only if they meet strict criteria, and are subject to oversight that ensured the legality of their votes.
Under SB-5, a citizen may vote without presenting voter ID if he makes a declaration, under penalty of perjury, that he faces a reasonable impediment that keeps him from obtaining appropriate identification.
As Fox News notes, SB-5 also requires individuals who opt to vote without ID to present paperwork showing their name and address, such as bank statements or utility bills. Despite these changes, SB-5 was shot down by the Left.
Judge Gonzalez ruled that SB-5 did not remedy the alleged discriminatory measures of the original law. However, Texas appealed the decision, and has now received approval to implement SB-5. The New Orleans-based Federal Appeals court voted 2-1 to lift the permanent injunction Gonzalez put in place.
The majority opinion from Circuit Judges Jerry Smith and Jennifer Walker Elrod read, “The State has made a strong showing that it is likely to succeed on the merits. The State has made a strong showing that this reasonable-impediment procedure remedies plaintiffs’ alleged harm and thus forecloses plaintiffs’ injunctive relief.”
Stricter voter ID regulations upheld in Texas. Will this curb voter fraud?
In his dissenting opinion, Judge James Graves, Jr. wrote that any stay “should be comprehensive. In other words, the correct approach would be to stay both the district court’s order and the new (voter ID) legislation.”
The voter ID law was supported by the Trump Department of Justice. The DOJ under Barack Obama, however, had opposed both SB-14 and SB-15. As Breitbart notes, President Trump has organized a commission to investigate voter fraud. Sitting on the commission is immigration hardliner Kris Kobach, the current Kansas Secretary of State.
The recent ruling will allow the voting protocol outlined in SB-5 to go into effect for his November’s elections.