(Austin, Texas)//Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) today applauded the US Department of Justice’s decision to reject preclearance of Texas’ controversial voter ID law. The department had recently rejected preclearance of a very similar voter ID law passed in South Carolina.
In 2011, the Texas Legislature approved so-called voter ID legislation that will make it significantly more difficult for potentially over one million eligible Texas voters to exercise their right to vote. The legislation established some of the most restrictive voting laws in the nation. The law — opposed by groups ranging from AARP to MALDEF to the NAACP and LULAC — requires voters to show picture identification in order to vote.
“I thank the Justice Department for standing up for voting rights,” said Ellis. “Throughout the preclearance process, Texas consistently failed to produce information showing the law would not have a discriminatory impact on minority voters. The Voting Rights Act exists for this exact purpose: protecting the ability of all Americans to access the ballot box.”
Under Texas voter ID law, all voters must present one of the following forms of photo identification in order to be eligible to vote:
Driver’s license, election identification certificate, personal identification card, or concealed handgun license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety;
U.S. military identification card containing the person’s photograph;
U.S. citizenship certificate containing the person’s photograph; or
With the exception of the U.S. citizenship certificate, all of the forms of identification must be current or have expired no more than 60 days before being presented at the polling place.
“There are more UFO and Bigfoot sightings than documented cases of voter impersonation,” said Ellis. “After years of testimony and debate, supporters of Texas’ voter ID law still cannot prove their case that voter impersonation is even a minor problem in Texas. We, unfortunately, have plenty of evidence that it will disenfranchise legal student, elderly, African American and Hispanic voters. The Department of Justice saw that evidence and made the right decision.”