Federal appeals court to rehear Texas voter ID case

Press Release Posted on

A federal appeals court will hold a new hearing on whether a Texas voter ID law has discriminatory effects on minorities ? a potential blow to the Obama administration's efforts to fight new ballot-box restrictions passed by conservative legislatures around the country.

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled in August that the 2011 Texas law requiring 14.6 million registered voters to show picture identification at the polls violates parts of the federal Voting Rights Act. But an order issued late Wednesday says a majority of the full court, which currently has 15 members, voted to hear the case again.  

The order was issued without additional opinion, and a new hearing date hasn't been set.

Texas was allowed to enforce the voter ID law during elections in 2014 and during last week's primary. Supporters say it prevents fraud, but opponents argue its true intent is to make voting tougher for older, poor and minority voters who tend to support Democrats and are less likely to have the mandated forms of identification.

In a statement, state Attorney General Ken Paxton called the order "a strong step forward in our efforts to defend the state's Voter ID laws."

"We look forward to presenting our case before the full Fifth Circuit," said Paxton, a Republican who has been indicted on felony securities fraud charges stemming from actions he took before becoming attorney general in January 2015.

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