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Voter ID Reenacted For Texas Following U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on Voting Rights Act

Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images

Voters in Texas can expect to be required to show photo identification when casting their ballots.

Texas Secretary of State John Steen made the announcement Tuesday morning, following the Supreme Court of the United States’ announcement that struck down certain portions of the Voting Rights Act.

The U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday released an opinion in Shelby County v. Holder, which struck down the portion of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 requiring nine states to seek approval from the U.S. Department of Justice before modifying certain voting procedures and districts.

The court voted 5-4 to strike down those provisions, with an opinion authored by Chief Justice John Roberts. Roberts laid out the U.S. Supreme Court’s reasoning for declaring §4(b) of the VRA as unconstitutional.

“There is no valid reason to insulate the coverage formula from review merely because it was previously enacted 40 years ago. If Congress had started from scratch in 2006, it plainly could not have enacted the present coverage formula. It would have been irrational for Congress to distinguish between States in such a fundamental way based on 40-year-old data, when today’s statistics tell an entirely different story. And it would have been irrational to base coverage on the use of voting tests 40 years ago, when such tests have been illegal since that time. But that is exactly what Congress has done.”

This prompted Steen and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to announce that Texas would begin requiring Voter ID.

Abbott weighed in, saying “Laws that apply unequally to just some states have no place in our nation. Today’s ruling ensures that Texas is no longer one of just a few states that must seek approval from the federal government before its election laws can take effect.”

The Voter ID measure was passed by the Texas Legislature in 2011 and halted by federal courts last August.

“My office is committed to making sure Texans have all the information they need to vote, including what forms of identification they need now that photo ID requirements are in effect, said Steen.

A voter will be required to show one of the following forms of photo identification at the polling location:

  • Texas drivers license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety
  • Texas election identification certificate issued by DPS
  • Texas personal identification card issued by DPS
  • Texas concealed handgun license issued by DPS
  • United States military identification card with a photograph
  • United States citizenship certificate with a photograph
  • United States passport

With the exception of the U.S. citizenship certificate, the identification must be current or have expired no more than 60 days before being presented at the polling place.

Election identification certificates are available for voters who do not already have a required form of photo identification. There is no fee for the certificate.

Information on how to obtain an election identification certificate can be found at www.dps.texas.gov, and you can contact DPS by phone at 512-424-2600.

More on the Supreme Court of the United States’ ruling on Shelby County v. Holder from Oyez.org.

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