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Voter ID Closing Arguments Point To Constitutional Challenges

Both state and federal attorneys in a lawsuit challenging Texas’ Voter ID law wrapped up their arguments both for and against the law this week in Corpus Christi. Those close to the case believe the Texas federal district judge will have a decision before the start of early voting for the November election.

The law passed by the 2011 Legislature requires voters have a pre-approved government-issued ID. Attorneys for the state argue that the law is sensible and essential for combating voter fraud. But plaintiffs like San Antonio Democratic Rep. Trey Martinez-Fischer says that argument doesn’t show how the law makes it more difficult for minority voters to cast a ballot.

Martinez-Fischer said, “It’s not about whether people should have ID. It’s whether the state knew that minorities would be disenfranchised because the Texas leadership knew that 600-thousand people in the State of Texas were registered to vote that didn’t have an ID and what the State of Texas did,  absolutely positively nothing to accommodate this group of voters."

Beyond the cost of obtaining the correct ID, there's also the fact that many areas of the state don’t have a nearby DPS office where you can retrieve one.

Martinez-Fischer says there is also good reason to believe Corpus Christi Federal District Judge Nelva Gonzalez-Ramos will have a decision before the November election.

Martinez-Fischer said,  “Think about 600-thousand Texans right now who are going to find it a lot harder to vote and we know that Rick Perry 4-years ago beat Bill White by 632-thousand votes, that's significant."

He says at this point it’s hard to see if Texas’ Voter ID law will be either enjoined or in effect during the November election. But he says the case will likely be appealed to the US 5th Circuit Court.