On August 22, 2013, the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of Texas challenging Texas’s discriminatory photo ID law, SB 14, under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund petitioned the Court on August 26 to allow its clients, the Texas League of Young Voters Education Fund and an undergraduate student at Prairie View A & M University, to intervene in the action. The DOJ and LDF previously successfully blocked SB 14 under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. In this new case, LDF’s clients not only seek to block the suppressive photo ID law, but also will petition the court to “bail-in” the State of Texas for all future voting changes.
SB 14 imposes significant burdens on young African-American student voters in Texas, many of whom have previously relied on student IDs to vote in past elections. Texas’s restrictive voter ID law would have a disproportionate effect on voters of color throughout the state. Nationally, only 8% of white voting age citizens, while 25% of African-American voting age citizens, lack a government-issued photo ID. Under the proposed law, concealed handgun licenses would be acceptable forms of photo ID, but student IDs would not.