Once Again, Judge Rules Texas Voter-ID Law Intentionally Discriminates Against Minorities

Ron Jenkins/Getty Images
Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

A federal judge ruled for the second time Monday that Texas’ stringent voter-ID laws were crafted with the intention of discriminating against minorities, a ruling that follows on the heels of another court finding evidence of racial gerrymandering in how Republican lawmakers drew the state’s election maps.


As the Associated Press notes, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos’ ruling comes more than two years after she compared the ballot-box rules (known as S.B. 14) in Texas to a “poll tax” meant to inhibit minority voters. On Monday, Gonzales Ramos remained firm in her original stance made after an appeals court requested that she go back and take another look at her original findings.

“Proponents touted SB 14 as a remedy for voter fraud, consistent with efforts of other states. As previously demonstrated, the evidence shows a tenuous relationship between those rationales and the actual terms of the bill,” Gonzales Ramos wrote.

The rules require voters to show one of seven “approved” forms of identification while going to vote—for example, concealed-handgun licenses, but not college student IDs. In the November elections, a court ordered Texas to give more flexibility to voters under the law.

According to the newswire, state officials have not immediately reacted to Gonzales Ramos’ ruling, although Texas could once again appeal it.

Last month a separate three-judge panel in San Antonio pointed out issues in Texas’ voting-rights law, finding that Republicans racially gerrymandered some congressional districts to weaken the electoral impact of minorities.

Read more at Time.

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This reply is aimed at the person who posted the “like if you think ID should be required to vote” meme. In the spirit of fair play, I will reply as if you are sincere and not simply trolling.

1. Are you familiar with the history of vote suppression, especially in the South? Some states’ excesses were so egregious that they until recently had to prove to a federal court that any changes in their voting laws weren’t meant to disenfranchise minorities, especially African-Americans.

2. The often-repeated claim of “combating voter fraud” is a tissue of lies. Actual, verifiable voter fraud is vanishingly rare: The Washington Post found fewer than a dozen instances of alleged voter fraud in the last national election. Of those, only four were verified. Again, that’s four out of 135 million votes. According to the New York Times, a study from Arizona State University found 2,068 cases of alleged fraud for the period of 2000 - 2012. If you take the 2000 total of 105 million votes as an average (2008 and 2012 were substantially higher), then that’s 0.0000049% of the vote total--a microscopic fraction well below the margin of error for any count, anywhere.

3. If you want to prove that it isn’t intended to suppress the vote, then answer this: why are concealed-carry permits allowed as voter ID but not college student ID? It may be coincidence that college students tend to vote Democrat, or it may not.

This is why we have judicial review and oversight of these laws, even if the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act.