Voter Identification Law

A federal appeals court recently examined the voter ID laws that are being used in Texas, and the court found that those laws were discriminatory. Specifically, they were found to potentially violate the rights of minorities like Hispanics and African Americans.

The 2014 Ruling

The issue, a lower court said in 2014, is that over 600,000 people in Texas do not carry the right ID cards; the law does not allow for the use of student IDs, but it does take concealed handgun licenses. Those without the proper ID cards tend to be minorities, so the law impacts them far more drastically than others, as they can't exercise their right to vote.

Appeals Court

That ruling was challenged and ended up before the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. The court contended that the law discriminated in the sense that it was harder for Hispanics and African Americans to vote. However, a key point to note is that the court rejected the 2014 court's decision that this meant the laws was an "unconstitutional poll tax." The court also said that the law did not discriminate intentionally, and so the court did not ask for the law to be struck down.

Softening the Law

Since this resulted in a split decision, it is thought that the law may end up being softened, not removed. The speculation at this point is that voters who show up and who do not have the right ID cards could be given an affidavit. If they sign it, they could then vote without their IDs. There is precedent for this in the United States, though the court said that the judge could put a specific solution into place.

Election Season

The presidential election draws closer every day, so the outcome of this case -- and the changes that could be made to the law -- is of great significance. Voters in Texas need to know their rights, how to vote legally, and what they can do if they think they're being discriminated against in any way.