By Brennan Center at NYU. School of Law
The Texas photo ID trial is continuing this week in U.S. District Court in Corpus Christi. The Brennan Center is part of a legal team representing several groups who argued the ID requirement violates the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution by making it harder for minorities to vote.
As many as 1.2 million eligible Texas voters do not possess acceptable ID. Hispanic and black voters are more likely to lack an ID than whites, according to expert testimony.
The judge also heard from several affected voters. Sammie Louis Bates, a low-income senior who is a lifelong voter, said she kept “running into the wall of needing her birth certificate,” which cost $42 — an amount she could not afford on a monthly income of just a few hundred dollars.
“I had to put $42 where it would do the most good,” she said. “We couldn’t eat the birth certificate, and we couldn’t pay rent with the birth certificate.”
The trial comes as many Americans face an ever-shifting voting landscape. Texas is one of seven states with ongoing litigation challenging voting restrictions ahead of the November election.
Read more on major lawsuits at the Brennan Center’s Election 2014 resources.