Federal appeals court orders changes to Texas voter ID law

SAN ANTONIO – Changes are coming to Texas' Voter ID law after a federal appeals court ruled that the law violates the Voting Rights Act.

The ruling issued Wednesday by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals includes an order for a lower court to make those changes before the November election.

Nina Perales, vice president of litigation for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, or MALDEF, said the ruling means the Texas Voter ID discriminates against minority voters, because they tend to be more likely to lack one of the forms of ID that had been required in the past.

Perales called the ruling a "victory."

"I don't think we're going to see a wholesale replacement of the Voter ID law, perhaps some modification of Voter ID to allow those people who don't have an ID to still be able to prove who they are and vote,” Perales said.

The changes are not supposed to disrupt this year's election.

Gov. Greg Abbott sent out this statement in response to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal's Voter ID ruling:

"The 5th Circuit rightly reversed the lower court's finding of discriminatory purpose, but wrongly concluded the law had a discriminatory effect. Voter fraud is real, and it undermines the integrity of the election process. As Attorney General I prosecuted cases against voter fraud across the State, and Texas will continue to make sure there is no illegal voting at the ballot box." 

Democratic U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro stated Wednesday:

"The Texas voter ID law was nothing more than a political point-shaving strategy by Republicans to win elections by depressing turnout. The Fifth Circuit's decision proves its discriminatory effect. The recent attacks on Americans' right to vote in Texas and elsewhere contradict the ideals of our nation. Protecting people's ability to choose who represents them in government is essential for a strong democracy."

Attorney General Ken Paxton released the following statement on today’s ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on the Voter ID law:

"It is imperative that the State government safeguards our elections and ensures the integrity of our democratic process. Preventing voter fraud is essential to accurately reflecting the will of Texas voters during elections, and it is unfortunate that this common-sense law, providing protections against fraud, was not upheld in its entirety."

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch released the following statement:           

“I am pleased with today’s decision by the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit holding that Texas’s 2011 photographic voter identification law violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.  This decision affirms our position that Texas’s highly restrictive voter ID law abridges the right to vote on account of race or color and orders appropriate relief before yet another election passes.”

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