U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos has struck down the state’s Voter ID law, ruling that legislation passed during the regular legislative session (Senate Bill 5) did not cure the discriminatory effect of the original law (Senate Bill 14). She issued a permanent injunction against enforcing most of Senate Bill 14 and all of Senate Bill 5. Ramos also denied the state’s motion to reconsider her prior discriminatory intent finding.
The state will appeal the decision.
“The provisions of SB 5 fall far short of mitigating the discriminatory provisions of SB 14,” Ramos wrote in her 27-page ruling. “Along with continued provisions that contribute to the discriminatory effects of the photo ID law, SB 5 on its face embodies some of the indicia of discriminatory purpose—particularly with respect to the enhancement of the threat of prosecution for perjury regarding a crime unrelated to the stated purpose of preventing in-person voter impersonation fraud.”
Ramos found that Senate Bill 5 did not “meaningfully expand the types of photo IDs that can qualify, even though the Court was clearly critical of Texas having the most restrictive list in the country.” Its provisions relating to the use of expired photo identifications did not reduce the discriminatory effect of the law and, instead, “may actually exacerbate the discrimination.” Ramos found that the greatest benefit of those provisions helped voters over the age of 70. “That class of voters is disproportionately white.”
“Today’s ruling is outrageous,” said Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton in a statement. “Senate Bill 5 was passed by the people’s representatives and includes all the changes to the Texas voter ID law requested by the 5th Circuit.”
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