Why the Texas Legislature doesn’t reflect the state’s growing diversity

Austin American-Statesman,  April 14, 2019

The Legislature in 2011 passed one of the most restrictive voter ID laws in the nation, requiring registered voters to present one of seven forms of government-issued photo ID — such as a driver’s license or a license to carry a handgun — before casting a ballot. Civil rights groups, Democratic politicians and minority voters sued in 2013, arguing that the Republican-backed law violated the U.S. Voting Rights Act by targeting low-income, Latino and African American voters, who were less likely to have the approved forms of ID.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals largely agreed, ruling in 2016 that the voter ID law discriminated against minorities and poor people, infringing on the voting rights of about 600,000 registered Texas voters who lacked a government-issued photo ID.

The Legislature passed a weakened version of the statute two years ago that passed muster with the 5th Circuit.

By Renzo Downey

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