Senator West Issues Statement on 5th Circuit Ruling on Texas’ Voter ID Law
Wednesday, July 20th, 2016 @ 5:03PM
DALLAS — Today, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its third ruling in the case involving Senate Bill 14, the Texas Voter ID law first passed by the Texas Legislature in 2011. The Court ruled that the provisions of SB14 violate the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The following is State Senator Royce West’s reaction to the Court’s decision.
Today’s decision by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals is no doubt, a victory for Texas voters. But this saga that has already lasted five years is still not quite complete. I, along with Texas Democrats and numerous groups that speak for minority citizens, the elderly, younger voters and other marginalized Texans have said since the 2011 Legislative Session that the Republican-backed Voter ID language has the effect of creating barriers to voting that negatively and disproportionately impact certain populations by design. For the fourth time since 2012, the courts have agreed.
However, it remains to be seen exactly how the 5th Circuit’s decision will impact the 2016 Presidential Elections. In its ruling, the Court ordered U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos (Southern District of Texas) to find a remedy in time for the November elections. However, considering that the state has already spent about $3.5 million defending this law, I fully anticipate that there will be more filings from the attorney general to keep the current rules that the courts continue to find unconstitutional in place. Voter ID supporters claim the law was put in place to fight voter fraud. But the rampant fraud they claim has never been documented. I would suggest that rather than continuing its efforts to suppress the vote, Texas should instead invest its energies into increasing voter turnout and helping its citizens move from among the ranks of the nation’s worst in voter turnout; even in Presidential Election years.