Federal appeals court rules Texas voter ID law has a 'discriminatory effect'

The federal appeals court ruled the Texas voter ID law to have a "discriminatory effect."
(Image credit: iStock)

The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals handed a significant victory to voting rights Wednesday when it ruled a controversial Texas voter ID law has a "discriminatory effect" that violated the U.S. Voting Rights Act. The law requires voters to show a government-issued form of ID before voting and places strict parameters on which types of identification are acceptable; the court found these restrictions to disproportionately affect minority voters.

However, because the court only found the law to have a discriminatory effect and not a discriminatory purpose, Texas can keep the law so long as it fixes the problem ahead of the upcoming November elections. The decision on whether the law has a discriminatory purpose has been passed back to the lower courts to make, and likely won't come until after the elections.

Although Texas' voter ID law has previously been challenged by the Department of Justice, voting rights advocacy groups, and minority groups, The Texas Tribune said the appeals court's ruling Wednesday is the "strongest blow yet to what is widely viewed as the nation's strictest voter ID law."

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