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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.