WASHINGTON (AP) – The Justice Department’s civil rights division on Monday objected to a new photo ID requirement for voters in Texas because many Hispanic voters lack state-issued identification.
Texas is the second state in recent months to become embroiled in a court battle with the Justice Department over photo ID requirements for voters.
The Justice Department said Texas officials failed to show that the newly enacted law has neither a discriminatory purpose nor effect.
The department had been reviewing the law since last year and discussing the matter with state officials. In January, Texas officials sued U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, seeking a court judgment that the state’s recently enacted voter ID law was not discriminatory in purpose or effect.
In a letter to Texas officials that was also filed in the court case in Washington, the Justice Department said Hispanic voters in Texas are more than twice as likely than non-Hispanic voters to lack a driver’s license or personal state-issued photo ID. The department said that even the lowest estimates showed about half of Hispanic registered voters lack such identification.
The range was so broad because the state provided two sets of registered voter data.
In December, the Justice Department rejected South Carolina’s voter ID law on grounds it makes it harder for minorities to cast ballots. It was the first voter ID law to be rejected by the department in nearly 20 years.
In response, South Carolina sued Holder; the state argued that enforcement of its new law will not disenfranchise any voters.
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