Texas voting rights back into question
On Thursday, July 25, Eric Holder, the United States Attorney General, announced that the Justice Department will ask a court to require Texas to get federal approval before making changes to election laws. This comes on the heels of a recent Supreme Court decision which required Congress to remove a section from the Voting Rights Act. This section required 16 jurisdictions, many of them Southern states with a history of discrimination, to get preclearance for any voting law changes. The section will remain overturned until Congress changes the standard by which the jurisdictions are chosen.
Holder stated that Texas should continue to be one of the states requiring approval from federal courts for changes because of discrimination claims in redistricting efforts as recently as 2012. In 2011, a change in Texas election laws which would require a voter ID was denied by both the Justice Department and the Washington Court. With the recently overturned section, this voter ID law will become effective.
Holder's request has been met with plenty of opposition from Texas officials. In response to the New York Time's story on Holder's actions, Attorney General Greg Abbott tweeted "I'll fight #Obama's effort to control our elections & I'll fight against cheating at ballot box," Texas governor Rick Perry accused Holder's remarks as demonstrating “utter contempt for our country’s system of checks and balances.” Perry felt Holder's plan would weaken the state's voter-integrity laws and elections process.
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- New York Times, Holder Wants Texas to Clear Voting Changes With the U.S., July 25, 2013
- Miami Herald, A guide to voting rights lawsuits in Texas, July 25, 2013
- Los Angeles Times, Justice Department to challenge Texas on voting rights, July 25, 2013
- Wall Street Journal, Holder Targets Texas in New Voting-Rights Push, July 25, 2013
- Twitter, Greg Abbott, July 25, 2013