Texas and South Carolina Voter ID Letters

Since both Texas' and South Carolina's photo ID laws will place disproportionate burdens on African-American and Latino voters, the Brennan Center for Justice, along with several allies in the civil rights community, has urged the Justice Department to deny both states’ requests for preclearance.

October 14, 2011

Under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, certain jurisdictions with a history of discriminatory voting practices are required to obtain “preclearance” from either the Department of Justice or a federal district court in Washington, DC, for any changes to their voting laws. In order to obtain preclearance, these jurisdictions must show that the changes to their voting laws do not have a retrogressive impact on minority voting strength.

A number of states across the country enacted an astounding number of new laws in their 2011 legislative sessions that erect increased barriers to voting, including several highly restrictive new photo ID requirements. In June, South Carolina sought preclearance from the Justice Department for its new voter ID law requiring voters to produce government-issued photo ID at the polls. The state of Texas followed suit in July after enacting its own voter ID law.

Since both of these new photo ID laws will place disproportionate burdens on African-American and Latino voters, the Brennan Center for Justice, along with several allies in the civil rights community, has urged the Justice Department to deny both states’ requests for preclearance.

South Carolina

  • Original submission from South Carolina to the Department of Justice seeking preclearance for the State's photo ID Law- Act R54. (June 2011)
  • Letter to the Department of Justice from the ACLU, the Brennan Center, and the League of Women Voters of South Carolina. (Aug. 2011)
  • Letter from the Department of Justice to the South Carolina attorney general's office, requesting more information about the potential impact that the new photo ID requirement might have on minority voters. (Aug. 2011)
  • Letter from South Carolina Election Commission to the South Carolina attorney general's office in response to the Department of Justice's request for additional information. (Sept. 2011)
  • Letter to the Department of Justice with supplemental comments from the ACLU, the Brennan Center, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and the League of Women Voters of South Carolina. (Dec. 2011)
  • Final letter from the Department of Justice rejecting South Carolina's request for preclearance. (Dec. 2011)

Texas

  • Original submission from Texas to the Department of Justice seeking preclearance for the State's photo ID law- S.B.14. (July 2011)
  • Letter to the Dept. of Justice from the Brennan Center for Justice and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law on behalf of the Texas State Conference of the NAACP urging denial of preclearance on the basis of discriminatory impact and purpose. (Sept. 2011)
  • Letter from the Dept. of Justice to Texas election officials, requesting more information about the potential impact that the new photo ID requirement might have on minority voters. (Sept. 2011)
  • Letter from Texas to the Dept. of Justice, in response to the Department’s September request for information. (Oct. 2011)
  • Letter to the Dept. of Justice from the Brennan Center for Justice and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law on behalf of the Texas State Conference of the NAACP again urging denial of preclearance. (Nov. 2011)
  • Letter from Texas to the Dept. of Justice, in response to the Department’s November request for information. (Jan. 2012)
  • Letter to the Department of Justice from the Brennan Center for Justice and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law on behalf of the Texas State Conference of the NAACP again urging denial of preclearance. (March 2012)
  • Final letter from the Dept. of Justice to Texas denying preclearance. (March 2012)