Justice Dept. files lawsuit against Texas over voter ID law

Aug. 22, 2013 at 1:51 PM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday said it has filed a lawsuit against the state of Texas over the state's strict voter photo identification law.

The Justice Department says the law, SB 14, violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, as well as the voting guarantees of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

The state's voter ID law was adopted with the purpose of making it difficult for some people to vote based on race, color, or membership in a language minority group, the lawsuit alleges. The lawsuit is seeking to prohibit Texas from enforcing the law

"Today's action marks another step forward in the Justice Department's continuing effort to protect the voting rights of all eligible Americans," said Attorney General Eric Holder. "We will not allow the Supreme Court's recent decision to be interpreted as open season for states to pursue measures that suppress voting rights."

Holder said the Justice Department "will take action against jurisdictions that attempt to hinder access to the ballot box, no matter where it occurs."

"We will keep fighting aggressively to prevent voter disenfranchisement. We are determined to use all available authorities, including remaining sections of the Voting Rights Act, to guard against discrimination and, where appropriate, to ask federal courts to require preclearance of new voting changes."

The Justice Department is also filing a complaint against Texas and the Texas Secretary of State in the ongoing case of Perez v. Perry, which concerns the state's redistricting laws.

"The Department of Justice will use all the tools it has available to ensure that each citizen can cast a ballot free from impermissible discrimination," said Jocelyn Samuels, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. "The right to the franchise is one of the most fundamental promises of American democracy."

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