Federal judge rules Texas voter ID law discriminatory

Apr 13, 2017

Credit DEBAIRD / CREATIVE COMMONS

A federal judge has ruled, for the second time, that Texas lawmakers intentionally discriminated against Latino and black voters in passing a strict voter identification law in 2011.

As The Texas Tribune reports, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos ruled Monday that Texas did not meet its burden in proving that legislators passed the nation’s strictest photo ID law – Senate Bill 14 – without knowingly targeting minority voters.

The ruling could put Texas back on a list of states that must obtain outside approval before changing election laws.

Last July, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Texas law disproportionately targeted minority voters who were less likely to have one of seven forms of state-approved photo ID – a violation of the U.S. Voting Rights Act.

The appeals court asked Ramos to reconsider her previous ruling that lawmakers purposely discriminated, calling aspects of her conclusion "infirm," but after weighing the evidence again, she came to the same conclusion.

The Texas Attorney General’s office intends to seek a review of the ruling.