Justice Dept. Urged to Reject New Texas Voter ID Restrictions

September 14, 2011

Andrew Goldston

Brennan Center for Justice



Stacie Royster

Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law



Groups Argue Changes Disproportionately Harm Minority Voting Strength

Washington, D.C. – The Brennan Center for Justice, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and the Texas State Conference of the NAACP submitted a joint letter to the Department of Justice today, relying on extensive statistical evidence to show that Texas’ newly-passed voter ID restrictions will disproportionately harm minority voting rights in the state.

Under the Voting Rights Act, changes to Texas’ election laws must be “precleared” by the United States Department of Justice or a federal court. The letter asserts that Texas has not met its obligation under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act to demonstrate the law was not motivated by a discriminatory purpose and does not have discriminatory effects, and urges the Department of Justice to deny Texas’ request for preclearance of the law.

The law, known as Senate Bill 14, would establish a very limited list of accepted forms of photo identification, and would require all voters to show an acceptable ID before they will be permitted to vote. Other previously acceptable documents, like birth certificates and utility bills, will no longer be accepted as sufficient proof of identification. Notably, university student ID cards and state and federal government employee ID cards would also be rejected.   This extremely narrow list of acceptable identification documents makes Texas’ law one of the most restrictive pieces of voter ID legislation in the entire country.

For more information or to request an interview with signatories to the letter, please contact the individuals listed above. To learn more, view or download a copy of the joint letter: