Reaction to reinstatement of the Texas Voter ID Law drew opposite reactions from Johnson County’s Democratic and Republican chairmen.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott on June 25 announced the state would immediately begin enforcing the act, which requires voters to present valid, state-approved identification to vote.
Abbott’s announcement followed a Supreme Court ruling that retained Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, but overturned Section 4.
Section 5 requires Texas and all or part of eight other states to get pre-approval on changes to voting plans or districts. Section 4 addresses the formula for getting such preclearance, which dates to the 1960s. The court’s ruling leaves Congress to develop a new formula.
The Texas Voter ID Law, passed by the Legislature in 2011, was ruled unconstitutional by a federal court in Washington, D.C. That court ruled that the law showed intentional discrimination against minorities. The ruling barred Texas’ ID requirement during the 2012 elections.
The Supreme Court’s June ruling, however, overruled the Washington court’s earlier ruling.
The status of Texas’s Voter ID Law remains unsettled, however, thanks to a federal lawsuit filed by U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, and others.
The plaintiffs to the suit argue that, despite the court’s ruling on Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, it remains unconstitutional to require voters to have to show state-issued identification.
The Texas Department of Public Safety announced June 25 that they will begin issuing Election Identification Certificates to Texas residents without an acceptable form of photo ID. Applications for EICs will be accepted at all state DPS driver’s license offices.
The EICs are free of charge and may be used for voting only, but not for personal identification otherwise.
EICs are available to residents who do not already have:
• A Texas driver’s license unexpired or expired less than 60 days.