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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.

Published: 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)