The weeklong trial on a new voter ID law in the state of Texas concluded with members of a three-judge federal court panel indicating they would uphold the federal Department of Justice and block the implementation of the law on the grounds that it has a discriminatory effect on minorities.
The Justice Department presented an overwhelming factual case to substantiate the charge that minorities are far more likely to lack the government-issued photo identification required to vote under the Texas law. One expert witness testified that 11 percent of white registered voters lacked the required ID, compared to 18 percent of Hispanic registered voters and 21 percent of black registered voters. A total of 1.5 million people of all races could be denied the right to vote under the Texas law.
Attorneys representing the Texas state government disputed claims that the law would have a “disproportionate” impact on Hispanic and African American voters and claimed that “only” 167,000 current voters would be disenfranchised by the new ID requirements. Significantly, they never called as witnesses the Texas state legislators and government officials, all Republicans, who drafted and pushed through the new law as a countermeasure to the rapid growth in the Hispanic population in the state. This would have subjected the Republican politicians to cross-examination on their political motives in adopting a law to curb voting by minorities more likely to support the Democratic Party.
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