With Thousands Denied at Polls, New Lawsuit Claims Total Disenfranchisement Over TX Voter ID

Yesterday afternoon, Michael Li reported that another lawsuit has been filed against Senate Bill 14, the Texas Voter ID law now in effect thanks to the Supreme Court striking down section 4 of the Voting Rights Act.

There are several lawsuits filed against the Texas Voter ID bill. This newest one comes from a group of Hispanic and African American voters from South Texas. While the plaintiffs may be of a group of people that are traditionally disenfranchised by Voter ID laws, they are making a non-raced based claim against the Voter ID law under the 14th and 15th Amendments of the United States Constitution. They are simply stating that the Voter ID law in Texas does not allow for the fundamental right to vote.

As this recently past election has shown, the real problem with the new Voter ID law in Texas is the random enforcement by election judges and poll workers. The "substantially similar" name-matching requirement causes countless issues of interpretation with any election day poll worker. Because of this enforcement requirement it is essentially impossible to implement the law equitably.

As Michael Li noted:

'The suit specifically challenges implementation and enforcement of the law's "substantially similar" name matching requirement, arguing that "discretion lies exclusively with individual election judges and election clerks" and that "[r]egardless of instructions and suggestions from the Secretary of State, standards and interpretations will vary significantly across the 254 counties of Texas and will adversely impact women and Hispanics more than Anglo non-Hispanic men."'

Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid and the Hidalgo County-based community civic group La Union del Pueblo Entero (LUPE) are collectively representing the plaintiffs in this lawsuit. It is also expected that these groups will join the other plaintiffs in the other suits that have been filed against the Voter ID law here in Texas. When that will happen remains to be seen.  

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