The legal standoff between Texas and the federal government continued Monday after the U.S. Department of Justice blocked a new state law that requires voters to show photo identification before casting ballots.
The DOJ’s civil rights division said in a letter that the state failed to prove the new voter identification law does not discriminate against minorities by making it more difficult for them to vote in elections.
Under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Texas and other states with a history of discrimination have to prove that the election-related laws they pass do not disenfranchise minority voters.
“Because we conclude that the state has failed to meet the burden of demonstrating that the proposed law will not have a retrogressive effect, we do not make any determination as to whether the state has established that the proposed changes were adopted with no discriminatory purpose,” Thomas E. Perez, U.S. assistant attorney general, wrote in a letter to Texas election officials.
Under the Texas law, voters would have to show photo identification — a driver's license, state-issued personal ID card, military ID, U.S. passport, citizenship certificate, or concealed handgun license — before casting a ballot. Current law allows Texans to present a non-photo voter registration card before casting a ballot.