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Federal Court Blocks Discriminatory Texas Voter ID Law

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Statement of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, which represents the Texas League of Young Voters Education Fund and Black college students at Prairie View A&M and Texas Southern Universities who have intervened in the case:

Ryan Haygood, Director of Political Participation Group at NAACP Legal Defense Fund, said:

“The Court today recognized that Texas’s restrictive photo identification measure would harm minority voters. Texas adopted its measure in the face of a population explosion of people of color. In the past 10 years, Texas’s population has grown by 4 million people, 90 percent of which is attributable to minority growth.  The increase in its population presented Texas with an important opportunity to expand its electorate but instead it decided to limit the ability of voters to participate in our democracy.  Many Texans would have had difficulty securing the limited types of identification the proposal allowed. Approximately 80 of the 254 counties in Texas do not have a Department of Motor Vehicles agency.  In one county, for example, there is no Department of Motor Vehicles within 100 miles.  In the City of Arlington, which contains 300,000 residents, no public transportation is available.  Fortunately, Section 5 of the Voting Rights, which serves as our democracy’s discrimination checkpoint, prevented the implementation of Texas’s discriminatory measure.”

Natasha Korgaonkar, assistant counsel in the Political Participation Group at NAACP Legal Defense Fund, said:

“We are very pleased that the Court blocked Texas’s voter ID law. The law would have made it more difficult for many African Americans and Latinos to vote. It also would have been unfair for young voters. Students who had voted before with their state-issued student IDs would have been turned away from the polls, while voters carrying a concealed gun license would have been welcomed. Today’s ruling illustrates that the minority voter protections established in the Voting Rights Act are as needed today as they were in 1965. Without Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, the discriminatory ID law would have been implemented, regardless of its impact on people of color and other vulnerable voters.”

Statement from Christina Sanders, Director of the Texas League of Young Voters Education Fund, which intervened in the case:

“Today’s ruling means that more young Black and Latino voters from Texas will be able to exercise their protected right to vote, without unjustified hurdles. This ruling shows that the Texas voter ID law was a solution in search of a problem. Our country is stronger when more people, not fewer, participate in the political process. We can now focus on engaging young people in the political process this November and beyond.”

Read the court's opinion.

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About NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF)

LDF represents Black voters in several additional voting rights cases, including South Carolina v. Holder, a case involving a photo ID measure; Florida v. Holder, a case involving early voting; Georgia State Conference of the NAACP, et al., v. Fayette County Board of Education, et al., a case involving a discriminatory method of election; and Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, a case challenging the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act. Shelby County, which earlier lost its constitutional challenge, is currently seeking review by the U.S. Supreme Court. NAACP Legal Defense Fund became a separate entity from the NAACP in 1957.

About Texas League of Young Voters Education Fund

The Texas League of Young Voters Education Fund is an affiliate of the League of Young Voters Education Fund. The League empowers young people to participate in the democratic process and create progressive political change on the local, state and national level – with a focus on non-college youth and youth from low-income communities and communities of color. For more information, please visit www.youngvoter.org.