Source: Courthouse News Service

5th Circuit Hears Texas Voter ID Law Dispute

Natasha Korgaonkar, Assistant Counsel for the NAACP, said in an interview following the hearing that while Texas calls its state-issued voter registration cards “free,” actually they are not free at all. She said that in order to get the cards voters must first have certain identification, such as a birth certificate, and that plaintiffs have had to pay up to $40 to obtain the document.

In Texas, only residents over the age of 65 are eligible to vote by mail, Korgaonkar said. She said that many people do not wish to vote in isolation; they would prefer to vote as a community, and that requiring them to vote without going to the polls is a violation of their basic rights.

Korgaonkar said one of the plaintiffs in this case is an elderly woman from Louisiana who was born at home during segregation and was never issued a birth certificate. Korgaonkar underscored that the woman was born at home because at the time it was illegal for blacks to deliver in white hospitals and that requiring the woman to vote in isolation now simply because she was not afforded equal rights to whites is unconstitutional.

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