While the voter identification laws passed in several states have become a national political debate, the Justice Department blocked Texas's law Monday for extremely local reasons. The Justice Department made the case that Texas's voter identification law would disproportionately affect Hispanics, and used the 1965 Voting Rights Act to block the law from taking effect. The Justice Department already blocked a similar law in South Carolina in December, and several other states have attempted to pass I.D. laws to combat voter fraud. In this case, though, the Justice Department's reasoning was Texas-focused. Reuters reports:
The Justice Department said that data from Texas showed that almost 11 percent of Hispanic voters, just over 300,000, did not have a driver's license or state issued identification card ... [N]early one third of the counties in the state do not have offices where potential voters can obtain a driver's license or state identification card and some residents live more than 100 miles away, the Justice Department said.
While the facts of this battle center on logistics of who can provide identification, that's bound to get lost in the politics. As The Washington Post notes, Democrats see the laws as an attempt to block typically-Democratic voters from reaching the polls, while Republicans in states that have passed them claim voter fraud is a real problem. Don't expect pundits from both sides to address the logistical concerns as they weigh in on the decision.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.