Reporting from Houston — The U.S. Justice Department on Monday said Texas' new voter identification law failed to comply with the Voting Rights Act and did not demonstrate that it wouldn't discriminate against minority voters.
In a letter to the state, Justice Department officials said the measure could disproportionately harm Latinos. The department blocked a similar law earlier this month in Wisconsin, and in South Carolina in December.
Last year, eight states passed voter ID laws.
Supporters of such laws, generally Republicans, say the laws protect the integrity of elections. The Texas law’s requirements “entail minor inconveniences on exercising the right to vote,” Texas Atty Gen. Greg Abbott, a Republican, said in a January court filing in support of the law.
But opponents of the laws, generally Democrats, say they disenfranchise minority and low-income voters.
“Even using the data most favorable to the state, Hispanics disproportionately lack either a driver’s license or a personal identification card,” Thomas Perez, head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division, wrote Monday in a letter to Keith Ingram, director of elections for the Texas Secretary of State. The letter was excerpted in the Texas Tribune.