Texas Wants to Say Adios to the Voting Rights Act’s Authority

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Look up at your clock. By this same hour tomorrow, more than 1,500
US-born Latinos will have celebrated a milestone birthday, and turned 18.
They’ll be eligible to vote in local, state and federal elections in
their home states—but if that state is Texas, that right is under
threat.

A case being heard this week by a panel of judges in DC will determine if Texas can demand strict forms of photo ID at the polls. The Lone Star State passed the bill
and it was signed into law early this year. But what’s more broadly in
question is the federal government’s continued power under the 1965
Voting Rights Act.

Under the Voting Rights Act, Texas, along with other states that have
historically discriminated against people of color around elections,
must seek preclearance
from the Department of Justice for changes to voting districts or
regulations. And in the case of Texas’s voter ID law, that permission
was denied. Texas admits that more than 600,000
people lack the necessary identification required—but insists that the
law isn’t discriminatory because no-cost ID will be made available, and
voters who still lack ID will still be able to cast provisional ballots.

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