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August 6, 2015

Texas’ Voter ID Law Invalidated; but Is There a Silver Lining?

At least the judges didn’t buy the myth that the law is intentionally racist.

A significant ruling was made this week regarding Texas’ voter ID law, though there does appear to be somewhat of a silver lining. The Wall Street Journal has the lowdown: “A federal appeals court on Wednesday ruled Texas voter-identification requirements must be relaxed because they illegally obstruct blacks and Hispanics from casting ballots. But the decision, by the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, also said a lower court erred in finding that the Texas Legislature intended its 2011 voter-ID law to harm minorities. The appeals court returned the case to the district judge to reconsider that question under standards more favorable to the state.” And that’s important. The Journal explains, “[A] finding [of discriminatory intent] can lead to the invalidation of the entire law. A finding of disparate impact, however, may result in a less stringent remedy, the court said. While it is possible the district court could still conclude the legislature intended to harm minorities, the Fifth Circuit suggested such a finding would be unlikely. So it laid out suggestions for a remedy the district judge could consider in addressing the voter-ID law’s impact on minorities while still respecting the legislature’s aim of reducing ‘the risk of in-person voter fraud by strengthening the forms of identification presented for voting.’” In summary, despite the Fifth Circuit striking down the law based on “disparate impact” nonsense, at least the judges didn’t perpetuate the myth that the law is intentionally racist. Let’s hope the lower court agrees.

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