Today, in a major victory for voting rights advocates nationwide, a federal district court entered an order to ease Texas’s strict photo ID law — and allow voters without ID to cast a regular ballot this November.
The Texas requirement, as written in 2011, is effectively struck down. Approximately 600,000 registered voters did not have acceptable ID required under the original strict law.
The full Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals found Texas’s photo ID law racially discriminatory last month. Today’s agreement addresses the discriminatory effects of the law — and will help ensure all Texas voters can cast a ballot that counts this fall.
The original Texas law required voters to show one of a very limited number of government-issued photo IDs to vote, such as a state driver’s license, a passport, or a concealed carry license. Under today’s agreement, any voter without these forms of photo ID can sign a declaration stating they have a “reasonable impediment” to obtaining one, show an alternative form of identification, and vote a regular ballot. Voters who have one of the acceptable photo IDs must still show them to cast a ballot.
Many additional forms of ID are acceptable under the “reasonable impediment” alternative, including a voter registration certificate, driver’s license or personal ID card from any state (regardless of expiration date), utility bill, government check, paycheck, or any other government document that displays the voter’s name and address. Texas also agreed to spend $2.5 million on voter education efforts to let residents of the state know about the new changes before Election Day.