Civil Rights Groups Oppose Gov. Rick Perry’s New Voter ID Law

The organizations say the bill discriminates against minority voters.

Posted: 09/14/2011 09:22 AM EDT
Rick Perry

An alliance of civil rights organizations plan to file a complaint with the Department of Justice on Wednesday alleging that a voter ID law signed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is currently the Republican presidential frontrunner, intentionally discriminates against African-American and Latino voters. The law requires voters to show driver’s licenses, passports or other government-issued identification. Under the old law, voters could present documents like utility bills.


In a 31-page letter sent to DOJ, the Advancement Project, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Asian American Justice Center and the Southwest Workers Union say the state of Texas has failed to prove that the law was enacted for a non-discriminatory purpose and that it won’t have a discriminatory effect on minority voting strength. They also are asking the department to deny the state the preclearance that states with a history of discrimination must seek before implementing new voting laws.


“This law is a part of the largest legislative effort to turn back the clock on voting rights in our nation in over a century,” Advancement Project co-director Judith Browne Dianis said in a statement, Talking Points Memo reports. “If this bill is allowed to stand it will undermine the basic fabric of our nation’s democracy.


When Perry signed the bill in May he claimed it was an “emergency item” so that the state’s legislature could pass the bill swiftly. But according to the civil rights groups opposing the bill, there is no documented evidence of anyone being accused of in-person voter fraud.

(Photo: Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)

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