Civil Rights

DOJ to sue Texas over voter ID law

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The Department of Justice Department announced Thursday that it will sue Texas over its voter identification law and will seek to intervene in a suit involving redistricting there.

The complaint will assert that the ID requirement in SB 14 violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, according to a Justice Department release and an Associated Press report.

“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,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in the release. “The department will take action against jurisdictions that attempt to hinder access to the ballot box, no matter where it occurs.”

Responding to the news, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said in a statement that Texas should be allowed to write its own election laws, the AP reports.

“Facts mean little to a politicized Justice Department bent on inserting itself into the sovereign affairs of Texas and a lame-duck Administration trying to turn our state blue,” Cornyn said. “As Texans we reject the notion that the federal government knows what’s best for us.”

The DOJ action follows a 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that struck down a formula in the Voting Rights Act used to determine which jurisdictions have to get advance clearance before making changes to voting practices.

In the voter ID suit, the U.S. government will assert that the Texas ID requirement was adopted with the purpose of denying or restricting voting rights on account of race, color, or language, the AP reports.

By intervening in the redistricting case, the DOJ will seek a declaration that redistricting in Texas in 2011 for seats in Congress and the state legislature were also enacted in order to deny voting rights on account of race, color, and language.

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