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Trial Begins in Texas Voter ID, Hundreds of Thousands Affected by Pennsylvania Law

Today, the first federal trial on Texas’ restrictive voter ID law begins examining how the measure could potentially disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of minority voters.

July 9, 2012

Today, the first federal trial on Texas’ restrict­ive voter ID law begins examin­ing how the meas­ure could poten­tially disen­fran­chise hundreds of thou­sands of minor­ity voters.

In recent weeks, Pennsylvani­a’s Repub­lican House Major­ity Leader said that state’s voter ID law would deliver the state for Mitt Romney. A new report from the Phil­adelphia Inquirer shows why — an estim­ated 758,000 registered voters do not have the kind of ID required by the law.

The Texas and Pennsylvania laws are just two in a wave of new restrict­ive meas­ures — 24 laws and two exec­ut­ive actions have passed in 19 states since the begin­ning of 2011. Combined, these restric­tions could make it harder for millions of eligible Amer­ic­ans to vote this Novem­ber.

“Politi­cians should­n’t be allowed to manip­u­late our voting rights for their own bene­fit,” said Wendy Weiser, director of the Demo­cracy Program at the Bren­nan Center for Justice. “From laws requir­ing forms of ID that 21 million Amer­ic­ans do not have, to restric­tions on groups trying to register their neigh­bors to vote, this is the biggest roll­back of voting rights in decades. It is time to remove polit­ics from this process. Instead, we need new federal laws to modern­ize and improve our voting system so every eligible Amer­ican can vote on Elec­tion Day.”

The Bren­nan Center’s research shows that 11 percent of U.S. citizens, or more than 21 million eligible voters, do not have govern­ment-issued photo ID, which many of these restrict­ive laws require.

Wendy Weiser, and other Bren­nan Center voting experts, are avail­able to comment on the Texas trial, devel­op­ments in Pennsylvania, and more.

Please contact Erik Opsal at erik.opsal@nyu.edu or 646–292–8356 to set up an inter­view.