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Texas voter ID law denied by a federal judge, deemed “unconstitutional poll tax”

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos, a delegate of President Obama, ruled that the voter ID law passed by Texas legislators and approved by Gov. Rick Perry (R) took an “unorthodox” approach that knowingly would have an effect on minority voters.

The law requires voters to present a government-issued ID before casting a ballot.  Ramos said she found no “smoking guns” of racial intentions when the law was passed, but the legislature was “racially charged.”  She also concluded that advocates of the law “were motivated, at the very least in part, because of and not merely in spite of the voted ID law’s detrimental effects on the African-American and Hispanic electoral.”

Texas Attorney General Greg Abott’s spokeswoman said the state will be appealing the ruling immediately.

Related: Midland becomes home to Kelly Hart & Hallman law firm

The ID law was recently turned down by a panel of judges due to the law implementing
strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor.” Yet, Texas was still allowed to move forward with the law after the U.S. Supreme Court abolished a provision of the Voting Rights Act.  The act prevented the state from carrying out voting changes without approval from the court or the federal government due to the state’s past regarding racial discrimination.

Ryan P. Haygood, an attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, said the law was “a problem in search of a solution,” referring to the lack of evidence showing that in-person voter fraud is an issue.

The evidence in this case demonstrated that the law, like its poll tax ancestor, imposes real costs, and unjustified, disparate burdens on the voting rights of more than 600,000 registered Texas voters, a substantial percentage of whom are voters of color…  That result is precisely what the Voting Rights Act was enacted to outlaw.

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