The U.S. Department of Justice will file a lawsuit against the state of Texas over its voter identification law, specifically over its strict voter photo identification law (SB 14):
The United States’ complaint seeks a declaration that 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.
Separately, the Department is filing a motion to intervene as a party and a complaint in intervention against the State of Texas and the Texas Secretary of State in the ongoing case of Perez v. Perry (W.D. Tex.), which concerns the state’s redistricting laws. The United States had already filed a statement of interest in this case last month. Today’s action represents a new step by the Department in this case that will allow the United States to formally present evidence about the purpose and effect of the Texas redistricting plans.
“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. The 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. This represents the Department’s latest action to protect voting rights, but it will not be our last.”
In the voter ID lawsuit, the United States’ complaint contends that SB 14 was adopted with the purpose, and will have the result, of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group. The complaint asks the court to prohibit Texas from enforcing the requirements of its law, and also requests that the court order bail-in relief under Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act. If granted, this would subject Texas to a new preclearance requirement.
In the Department’s other filing announced today, the United States seeks a declaration that Texas’s 2011 redistricting plans for the U.S. Congress and the Texas State House of Representatives were adopted with the purpose of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group in violation of Section 2, as well as the voting guarantees of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. The complaint also requests that the court order bail-in pursuant to Section 3(c) of the Voting Rights Act, to remedy persistent, intentional discrimination in voting within the State of Texas.