Today, the State of Texas petitioned the United States Supreme Court to take up its appeal of a ruling that found that its voter suppression law is discriminatory. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund attorneys who successfully litigated the case against Texas offered the following reaction:
“Despite four different federal courts finding that its photo ID law is discriminatory, Texas is investing more state time and resources – to date, more than five years and 3.5 million dollars – to tilt at windmills against a problem, impersonation voter fraud, that does not exist,” said Janai Nelson, Associate Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
“Instead of spending state dollars and time on providing services like jobs, education, and infrastructure to residents of Texas, the state is instead fighting tooth and nail to create a real crisis: the disfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of minority voters. More than 600,000 registered voters and one million eligible voters risk disfranchisement because of the voter suppression law that Texas continues to defend.
“It’s clear that the law and the Constitution are on the side of unfettered access to the ballot. The Fifth Circuit is just one of many federal courts around the country that have recognized how flagrantly discriminatory certain voter suppression laws requiring photo ID are to communities of color, the elderly, students, and others,” Nelson continued.
LDF Senior Counsel Leah Aden noted, “After spreading misleading information to voters in advance of the November election, misleading information about how voters can participate without a photo ID based on a remedial court order, Texas is once again trying to do an end run around the law and court orders. It has asked the Supreme Court to help it wage a political fight designed to discriminate against minority voters. Multiple federal courts, including a majority of the 15-member en banc Fifth Circuit, ruled that Texas’s voter suppression law is discriminatory and that Texas officials should be working to ensure that all voters have unfettered access to the political process in our shared democracy.
“Texas’s intransigence in the face of multiple rulings from federal courts and ahead of the first presidential election in more than half a century without the full protection of the Voting Rights Act is just further evidence of the need to restore the VRA to its full power,” Aden continued.
“Despite Texas seeking review from the Supreme Court, which the NAACP Legal Defense Fund will strenuously oppose, Texas’s petition will not impact the November election. Nor will it impact the interim remedy ordered by a federal court that requires Texas to provide a process for eligible voters to vote a regular ballot who do not possess and cannot reasonably obtain one of Texas’s limited forms of acceptable photo ID,” Aden concluded.
Learn more about the upcoming election in Texas with LDF’s Prepared to Vote 2016.
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.