US. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos issued a permanent injunction against Texas’ voter ID requirements on Wednesday. After rejecting a weakened version of the law signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott earlier this year, Gonzales Ramos said the new version didn’t expand the list of acceptable photo identifications. He’s the same judge who threw out the bill back in 2014.
“This feature remains discriminatory because SB 5 perpetuates the selection of types of ID most likely to be possessed by Anglo voters and disproportionately, not possessed by Hispanics and African-Americans,” she wrote.
As one of the states with the strictest voter ID laws in the US, Texas has been fighting to maintain both the voter ID law and voting maps that were passed by GOP-controlled legislature in 2011. The Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said the ruling was “outrageous” and said an appeals court should void the ruling.
“The US Department of Justice is satisfied that the amended voter ID law has no discriminatory purpose or effect,” he said. “Safeguarding the integrity of elections in Texas is essential to preserving our democracy.”
This change in support runs counter to the sentiments expressed by the Obama administration, which joined Democrats and voting rights groups that challenged the law in 2011. This win demonstrates why off-year elections matter. Electing officials at various levels who appoint federal judges with the entire nation’s best interests in mind makes all the difference.