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Posted by on Oct 14, 2014 in 2014 Elections, Breaking News, Law, Politics | 15 comments

(Updates) Federal Judge Blocks Texas Voter ID Law

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Update II:

And here we go again in the courts-one-upmanship saga.

The Austin American-Statesman reports:

A federal appeals court on Tuesday reinstated Texas’ tough voter ID law for the November election, which the U.S. Justice Department had condemned as the state’s latest means of suppressing minority voter turnout.
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The ruling by the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily blocks last week’s ruling by U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos in Corpus Christi, who determined the law unconstitutional and similar to a poll tax designed to dissuade minorities from voting.
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The 5th Circuit did not rule on the merits of the law; instead, it determined it’s too late to change the rules for the upcoming election. Early voting starts Oct. 20.
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The law remains under appeal. For now, the ruling is a key victory for Republican-backed photo ID measures that have swept across the U.S. in recent years.

Read more here and stay tuned.

Update I:

And here you have it, from the horse’s mouth, my and Greg Abbott’s hometown newspaper:

Less than a month before Election Day, a federal judge from Corpus Christi ruled late Thursday that Texas’ voter identification law is unconstitutional.
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U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos equated the law, which passed the Texas Legislature in 2011 and has been in effect since last year, to the poll taxes of the Jim Crow-era South that were used to hinder minorities’ ability to cast ballots.
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“The Court holds that S.B. 14 creates an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote, has an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African-Americans, and was imposed with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose,” Ramos’ opinion said. “The Court further holds that SB 14 constitutes an unconstitutional poll tax.”
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[…]
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The ruling drew quick response from the office of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who has defended the law as a way to prevent voter fraud and protect the integrity of elections.
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“The State of Texas will immediately appeal and will urge the 5th (U.S.) Circuit (Court of Appeals) to resolve this matter quickly to avoid voter confusion in the upcoming election,” said Lauren Bean, a spokeswoman for Abbott’s office. “The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that voter ID laws are constitutional so we are confident the Texas law will be upheld on appeal.”
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Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa called the ruling a victory for all Texas voters.
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[…]
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Requiring one of seven forms of valid ID, Texas’ voter ID law is considered one of the strictest in the country.

Read more here

Original post:

Several sources are reporting that a federal judge today “blocked Texas from enforcing voter ID requirements just weeks ahead of the November elections, knocking down a law that the U.S. Justice Department condemned in court as the state’s latest means of suppressing minority turnout.”

ABC News:

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of Corpus Christi is a defeat for Republican-backed photo ID measures that have swept across the U.S. in recent years and mostly been upheld in court. However, the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday night blocked Wisconsin from implementing a law requiring voters to present photo IDs.
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Gonzales Ramos, an appointee of President Barack Obama, never signaled during a two-week trial in September that she intended to rule on the Texas law — rebuked as the toughest of its kind in the U.S. — before Election Day. But the timing could spare an estimated 13.6 million registered Texas voters from needing one of seven kinds of photos identification to cast a ballot.
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The Justice Department says more than 600,000 of those voters, mostly blacks and Hispanics, currently lack any eligible ID to vote.
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[…]
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Republican Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office said it would appeal.
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“The State of Texas will immediately appeal and will urge the Fifth Circuit to resolve this matter quickly to avoid voter confusion in the upcoming election,” said Lauren Bean, a spokeswoman for Abbott’s office.
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Early voting is scheduled to begin Monday, Oct. 20.
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Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said, “The Court today effectively ruled that racial discrimination simply cannot spread to the ballot box.”

Read more here and here

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