Voter ID

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The State of Texas has yet to file an appeal over a ruling against the state's voter identification law. Last week the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the law violated the Voting Rights Act.

But where do things stand now, and does the ruling mean Texans don't have to bring a photo ID when they vote this fall?

Once again the U.S. Supreme Court is correcting its own record, but Wednesday marks the first time that the court has called attention to its own mistake with a public announcement. And it was the erring justice herself, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who asked the court's public information office to announce the error.

Credit: KUT News

The U.S. Supreme Court is allowing Texas' voter ID law to be enforced for the Nov. 4 election. The law requires voters to show one of seven forms of approved identification when voting.

KUT News

A federal appeals is allowing a Texas' voter ID to go ahead for the November election. The law requires voters to show an approved photo ID before casting a ballot.

The ruling comes after a federal judge in Corpus Christi struck down the law last Thursday, calling it an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote, and adding that it intentionally discriminated against Hispanics and African-Americans.

KUT

UPDATE (Saturday 2:30pm): The judge in the Texas Voter ID case has formally issued an injunction barring the state from enforcing the new photo identification requirements under Senate Bill 14. 

 

Unless an appeals court intervenes, the ID requirement will not be in effect for the November election.

 

UPDATE (Friday, 2pm): Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott wants a federal judge who struck down the state's voter ID law to clarify her ruling by the end of today.

In a filing Friday, Abbott writes:

The scope of the planned injunction appears to be quite broad (much broader than it should be, even assuming the Court is correct regarding the merits of this case), but it is not described in any detail. Nor does the Court’s opinion announce the anticipated timing of its injunction. It is not clear if the Court’s injunction will apply to this election. 

Abbott also says the judge should allow the ID requirement to stay in effect for the upcoming November election, as the case is appealed.

 

EARLIER: A federal judge in Corpus Christi has struck down a Texas law requiring voters to show ID before casting a ballot, calling it an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote.

The law was passed by the 2011 Texas Legislature, and has been the subject of plenty of legal wrangling ever since. Republican leaders call it a protection against voter fraud. Democrats say it's aimed at discouraging minorities from voting.

Several groups representing Hispanic voters -- along with the Justice Department -- sued the state.

In her ruling today, Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos largely agrees with the plaintiffs. She cites the limited number of accepted forms of ID as an unconstitutional barrier to the right to vote, and saying it intentionally discriminates against blacks and Hispanics.

Flickr user: Covernor Rick Perry, https://flic.kr/p/9Mx7Xy

With the November elections just over two months away, Texans around the state are registering or renewing their voter status. That is, if they first have a government-issued identification card.

Texas' voter ID law is currently being challenged in court by the U.S. Department of Justice, but until a decision is reached, Texans will be required to show an ID to register as voters. But what does this mean for voters in rural areas? Or for Texans who mail in their ballots? 

Texas Secretary of State Nandita Berry is in charge of informing Texans of the voter ID law and how to register. Berry sits down with Texas Standard host David Brown to discuss the requirements for voter registration, and how to attain a government-issued ID before the November elections. 

Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

Even after a weekend full of panels and discussion of Texas politics and policy at The Texas Tribune Festival, many political wonks are looking to the main event: January's new legilative session. 

State Senator José Rodríguez, D-El Paso, sat down with Texas Standard host David Brown during the festival to discuss the upcoming legislative agenda, the state's budget surplus, the upcoming election for governor and more.

Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

Texas voters are deciding today who will be on the ballot in some high-profile elections in November. But few voters turn out in primary runoffs like this one.

Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir says she estimates a 6 or 7 percent turnout today.

"It looks like by the time the day’s over, that the Republicans will probably have a little more of a turnout," DeBeauvoir said. "They seem to have a little more interesting set of races on their side."

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Austin is just over a month away from March primaries – and Monday, Feb. 3 is the final day to register to vote.

Some Texans will also need to get their IDs in order. Following a 2013 Supreme Court decision, a state issued drivers license or one of several approved documents is required to cast a ballot at Texas polling stations. (See more information on acceptable documents.)

Tax Assessor/Collector Bruce Elfant says the new law could affect voters in Travis County.

Roy Varney for KUT News

Texas' new voter ID  laws can be used to discourage minorities and women from voting. 

That's according to the nonprofit Texas Civil Rights Project. Today, it released a 63-page report criticizing the states' voter registration procedures, and a lack of voting registration opportunities.

Last June, the United States Supreme Court overturned a portion of the Voting Rights Act. The act was originally intended to protect voters from discrimination in voting matters, but the Supreme Court ruled that the application of the act, covering large parts of the South, was outdated.

After the Supreme Court’s ruling, Texas instituted a voter identification law. The law requires registered voters to present a valid form of identification to vote. The Texas Civil Rights Project would like to see the voter ID law overturned, because they say it can be used to deter minority populations from voting. 

Photo by KUT News

It’s Election Day and, if you didn’t vote early, today is your final chance to cast a ballot on nine proposed state constitutional amendments, along with a few local elections.

This election is also the first one with the state’s new voter ID law in place.

For Agenda Texas, KUT's Ben Philpott breaks down what you should expect at the polls this Election Day.

Photo by KUT News

Tomorrow is Election Day, and in addition to the much-publicized voter I.D. law, a weather forecast of thunderstorms tomorrow and recent flooding events could hurt voter turnout. Some voters have also expressed concern about the need to sign an affidavit if the name on their photo I.D. does not exactly match the name on their voter registration.

Some worry that the affidavit is one more hoop to jump through in order to get to the vote itself. Travis County Clerk, Dana Debeauvoir, told KUT News the voter I.D. law and affidavits may throw off some voters at the polls, which requires voters to initial next to their names as proof of identification.

KeepCalmVoteOn.org

Updated Friday, November 1 at 7:37am: Early voting ends today for the Nov. 5 election.

There are 19 early voting locations in Travis County and several mobile locations.

What's On the Ballot:

Add gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis to the growing list of women who are having problems voting because of Texas' new photo ID law.

Davis, a Democratic state senator, was voting early in Fort Worth on Monday when poll workers made her sign an affidavit to verify her identity.

Why?

Veronica Zaragovia, KUT

The last chance to register to vote in the Nov. 5 election is Monday. And there’s another wrinkle for some: This is the first statewide election that requires voters to show photo ID. 

If you don’t have one of six approved government-issued photo IDs to bring with you to vote on Nov. 5, you can get an election ID certificate. I spoke to Travis County Voter Registrar Bruce Elfant at a Fiesta supermarket in South Austin, where he was getting the word out near a table set up by Department of Public Safety staff.

KUT News

September is Travis County’s Voter Registration Awareness Month – and the county Tax Assessor and Voter Registrar are kicking things off with a new online tool to help volunteers find new voters.

Citizen registrars can now use the county’s website to view lists and maps of addresses with unregistered and suspended voters, broken down by Travis County precincts. While the maps do not verify that eligible, but unregistered, voters reside at those locations, the new resource still helps deputy registrars and other organizations identify areas that may be neglected by the voting process.

clockwise from left: Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News, flickr.com/sarowen, KUT News

The U.S. Department of Justice is suing the State of Texas over its voter ID law.

It's the DOJ’s latest attempt to require Texas to get federal approval before making changes to its election laws. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the Voting Rights Act in June. It got rid of Section 4 – the formula that had required some states, including Texas, to get preclearance from the federal government for any changes to voting procedures.

This week was a busy one for the U.S. Supreme Court. It ruled on cases involving three major issues: affirmative action, same sex marriage and voting rights. 

All three of these cases have national implications, but they also mean changes for Texans, too. 

flickr.com/60064824@N03

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its second big decision of the week, striking down part of the Voting Rights Act. Supporters praised the decision, calling it a step forward in eliminating antiquated aspects of the law. Opponents of the decision say it makes it easier to discriminate against minorities.

Texas Minority Lawmakers: Keep Voting Rights Act

Feb 25, 2013
Bobby Blanchard

Representatives from minority groups are asking Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to stop fighting Section Five of the Voting Rights Act.

This Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the Shelby County v. Holder case, which challenges Section Five of the Voting Rights Act. That's the part of the act that requires federal approval of any changes to voting requirements.

While the Shelby County v. Holder case originated in Alabama, Texas State Representative Trey Martinez Fisher said this case resembles Texas cases that might be heard by the Supreme Court. Abbott's appeal of a decision that deeming Texas’ new redistricting maps discriminatory also challenges Section Five.

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