WASHINGTON — For the second time this week, a federal court here has blocked a Texas election law as discriminatory under the Voting Rights Act.
A three-judge federal court said Texas may not enforce its strict voter identification law, ruling it would discriminate against poor and minority voters and have the effect of barring them from voting.
The judges said the new law would require tens of thousands of registered Texas voters who are poor and do not drive cars to travel to a state motor vehicle office to obtain the required state photo ID card. And one-third of Texas counties do not have a Department of Public Safety (DPS) office, they noted.
“Even the most committed citizen, we think, would agree that a 200- to 250-mile round trip — especially for would-be voters having no driver’s license — constitutes a substantial burden on the right to vote,” said Judge David Tatel in unanimous opinion.
He noted that about 13% of the state’s black voters, and 7% of its Latinos, do not have an automobile in the household. And the state drivers’ license offices are not open on weekends.