Opponents say the list of acceptable ID cards is too narrow.
The list of groups filing objections to Texas’ new voter ID law is growing. The Brennan Center for Justice, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the Texas State Conference of the NAACP sent a letter this week to the Department of Justice arguing that the law would disproportionately harm minority voters.
“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,” the groups said in a statement. “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.”
The Young Voters Education Fund also is calling for DOJ to reject the measure and says it would be especially harmful to students at the HBCU Prairie View A&M University, the Houston Chronicle reports.
“Texas’ proposed photo ID measure, which does not permit use of a government-issued student identification card as an acceptable form of identification at the polls, would disenfranchise students who only possess student identification,” said Christina Sanders, who heads the fund’s Texas affiliate. “Students have a right to vote where they attend school. We cannot afford to ignore this real threat to their voting rights — a threat to their access to the ballot is a threat to everyone’s access to the ballot.”
The organization has collected statements from several students at Prairie View who say that the law, which if approved would go into effect in January 2012, would disenfranchise them. In addition, critics say they have been “the target of multiple efforts to deny their votes over the years."
Allison Castle, a spokesperson for the Republican presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry said this week that the law applies the same standard used for cashing a check or applying for a library card.
“Without confidence in our elections process, the rights of all voters are cast in doubt,” she said.
(Photo: REUTERS/Gary I Rothstein/Landov)