Department of Justice Protects Texas Voters

March 12, 2012

The Brennan Center for Justice released the following statement from Wendy Weiser, Director of the Center’s Democracy Program, in response to the Department of Justice decision denying preclearance for Texas’s voter ID law:

“Today is a great day for voting rights in America. The Justice Department has followed the law and affirmed that federal law cannot tolerate election statutes like the one in Texas, which make it harder for minority citizens to vote.

“The Department’s action is its third strike against the widespread effort to suppress voting in many states. We hope that the courts similarly stand up for voters in Texas, South Carolina, and Florida.”

The Department’s objection cited several factors for its denial including the types of acceptable identification, as well as the fact that “Hispanic registered voters are more than twice as likely as non-Hispanic registered voters to lack such identification.” In addition, the letter discussed the underlying costs of obtaining identification and the distance for many voting-age citizens in Texas who live more than 20 miles from a state driver’s license office.

The Brennan Center, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and the Texas State Conference of the NAACP weighed in on this case last year, urging the Justice Department to deny the request. See our letters here and here. For more information about the federal court case about this issue, go here.

For more information, or to set up an interview, please contact Erik Opsal (erik.opsal@nyu.edu, 646-292-8356).