Politics

U.S. Sues to Stop Texas' Voter ID law

The Justice Department ramped up efforts Thursday to reimpose oversight of Texas elections, suing to block a stringent voter ID law and weighing in on a fight over redrawn political maps.
August 23, 2013

The Justice Department ramped up efforts Thursday to reimpose oversight of Texas elections, suing to block a stringent voter ID law and weighing in on a fight over redrawn political maps.

“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. “We will keep fighting aggressively to prevent voter disenfranchisement.”

Democrats and minority advocates welcomed the muscular assertion of legal authority. But Texas leaders, all Republicans, cried foul.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a frequent Obama antagonist and a leading GOP contender for governor next year, said Holder was playing politics by asking a Corpus Christi court to block the requirement for voters to show photo identification at the polls.

“Voter IDs have nothing to do with race and they are free to anyone who needs one,” said Abbott, a Republican candidate for governor. “Eric Holder’s outrageous claim that voter ID is a racist plot to disenfranchise minority voters is gutter politics and is offensive to the overwhelming majority of Texans of all races who support this ballot integrity measure.”

Gov. Rick Perry also blasted the “effort to obstruct the will of the people of Texas” and the intrusion on state sovereignty.

The legal moves include an effort to re-establish federal preclearance over Texas election procedures. Together, they ensure that Texas will be the epicenter of the fight over voting rights and regulations, after the Supreme Court ruled in June that decades of federal scrutiny in states with a history of bias couldn’t continue without substantial changes.

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