The Texas law requiring voter photo identification is a solution to a non-existent problem. In reality, it is a measure that would effectively disenfranchise more than half a million Latino voters.
That is why the Department of Justice correctly rejected implementation of the law. States with prior histories of voter discrimination, like Texas, must pre-clear changes in their election procedures.
The Court’s permanent injunction against this law is the best example why the Justice Department’s oversight is still necessary.
Texas is not the only state pushing for voter photo identification. While more than 31 states already require some sort of identification, this type of law is a cause celebre among Republican-dominated state legislatures.
The courts have previously recognized the legitimate interest states have in blocking voter fraud, which is the argument being forwarded by many states. Yet, the unusual aspect to all of this is that in-person voter impersonation is a virtually non-existent problem.
The cause also has fervent anti-immigration support because of fears that the undocumented can pass as legitimate voters and corrupt our democracy.
What is a fact is that this type of law suppresses voter turnout among minorities and young people, among others. These are populations that disproportionately support Democrats. In this way, the laws passed by Republican-led legislatures have a deliberate intention to disenfranchise and exclude votes that would likely go to the Democrats.
The Department of Justice estimates that close to 795,955 registered voters in Texas the majority Latinos do not have individual photo identification. The Constitution says they have the right to vote without the imposition of artificial impediments.