Below is reaction from state and local officials after today's federal court ruling against Texas' voter ID law. The law, passed last session by the state legislature, would require voters to show photo identification before casting ballots in elections.
State Sen. Jose Rodriguez and state Reps. Marisa Marquez, Inocente Quintanilla and Naomi Gonzalez—all Democrats— voted against the law. State Rep. Dee Margo, R-El Paso, and state Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, supported the law.
Here is the statement from Rodriguez:
"Today's decision to block Texas' voter ID law will ensure that the voices of Hispanic voters across El Paso, West Texas, and our state, will not be ignored as a result of highly partisan attempts to deny them the right to vote. This is a clear message that the state ought to stop trying to pass unconstitutional laws that infringe on the rights of Texas minorities, especially the millions of Hispanics in our state.
"Once again state leaders were unable to prove that the Voter ID law would not adversely impact minority voters. As the Department of Justice correctly argued, Hispanic registered voters, in particular, are less likely to have photo identification or the ability to acquire photo identification because of obstacles, such as the lack of transportation. This is why I voted against passage of the law.
"This has gone on for too long already. With the court's rejection this week of the state's redistricting proposals, it is clear that continued assaults on our cherished right to vote are unconstitutional and a distraction from the vital governance issues we face.
"I urge General Abbott not to spend taxpayer dollars on a lengthy and expensive appeals process in defense of a law targeting minority and elderly voters. Let us move forward and focus on the real problems facing our state -- underfunded public schools, the highest rate of uninsured in the nation, and a crumbling infrastructure system."
•Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott: "The Supreme Court of the United States has already upheld Voter ID laws as a constitutional method of ensuring integrity at the ballot box. Today's decision is wrong on the law and improperly prevents Texas from implementing the same type of ballot integrity safeguards that are employed by Georgia and Indiana - and were upheld by the Supreme Court. The State will appeal this decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, where we are confident we will prevail."
•Mexican American Legislative Caucus Chairman and state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio: “Today, the court affirmed that Texas' photo identification law violates the Voting Rights Act, this law posed a direct threat to the right of every Texan to vote. It would have muffled the voice of those that need government's ear the most - Latinos, African Americans, the poor, and the elderly. The Declaration of Independence says that all men are created equal. Citizens have the responsibility to vote and participate in our democracy, but restrictive voting laws like Texas’ deny them that opportunity. Today is a victory for all Texans and the Voting Rights Act.”
•Gov. Rick Perry:“Chalk up another victory for fraud. Today, federal judges subverted the will of the people of Texas and undermined our effort to ensure fair and accurate elections. The Obama Administration’s claim that it’s a burden to present a photo ID to vote simply defies common sense. I will continue to work with Attorney General Abbott to fight for the same right that other states already have to protect their elections.”
•Attorney General Eric Holder: “The court’s decision today and the decision earlier this week on the Texas redistricting plans not only reaffirm - but help protect - the vital role the Voting Rights Act plays in our society to ensure that every American has the right to vote and to have that vote counted.
“The Department of Justice opposed preclearance of the Texas voter ID law because of the harm it would cause minority voters across the state of Texas. Under the proposed law, many of those without the required voter identification would be forced to travel great distances to get one – and some would have to pay for the documents they might need to do so. The legislature rejected reasonable efforts to mitigate these burdens. We are pleased with the court's decision to deny preclearance because of these racially discriminatory effects.
“The Justice Department’s efforts to uphold and enforce voting rights will remain aggressive and even-handed. When a jurisdiction meets its burden of proving that a proposed voting change would not have a racially discriminatory purpose or effect, the Department will not oppose that change -- when a jurisdiction fails to meet that burden, we will object.”