A federal judge blocked a controversial Texas voter ID law holding it violated the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitutional because it knowingly imposed disproportionate burdens on black voters and was “enacted with discriminatory intent.”
U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos issued a permanent injunction barring enforcement of the Texas law passed in 2011, as well as a less severe version that was passed earlier this year.
The most recent changes were insufficient to save the law, which was considered the toughest in the nation.
In 2011, the Texas legislature imposed voter restrictions that required voters to present one of seven forms of government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license or a permit to carry a handgun, before voting.
Opponents, including Democrat politicians, civil rights groups and minority voters sued in 2013. They maintained that the Republican-backed law targeted low-income, Latino, and black voters, who were less likely to have approved forms of ID and more likely to vote for Democrats.
Ramos agreed. She found the law violated the 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution. This is her second ruling striking down the law.
In 2016, she found the law discriminated against minorities and the poor. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals sent the case back to Ramos saying she must also determine if the law was written to intentionally discriminate. On Wednesday, she again found the law discriminatory and intentionally so.
Lawmakers this summer had eased requirements by saying voters could also present a utility bill, bank statement or paycheck for identification. But Ramos rejected the changes as insufficient.