AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton applauded a Sept. 5 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit that preserves Texas’ voter ID law.
“We’re pleased that the 5th Circuit agrees that Texas’ voter ID law should remain in effect for upcoming elections,” Paxton said. “Safeguarding the integrity of our election process is essential to preserving our democracy, and the voter ID law provides simple protections to ensure our elections accurately reflect the will of voters in Texas.”
By a 2-to-1 vote, a three-judge panel overturned a lower court ruling that blocked Texas from enforcing voter ID.
The 5th Circuit’s ruling means that an interim court remedy is in place for 2017, preserving the requirement of an ID while allowing those without an accepted ID to vote by signing a sworn declaration stating that they have a reasonable impediment to obtaining one.
Senate Bill 5, which amended the voter ID law to comply with a prior 5th Circuit ruling, takes effect in 2018.
In a majority opinion, the 5th Circuit concluded that Texas made a strong showing that it is likely to prevail in the voter ID case.
“A temporary stay here, while the court can consider arguments on the merits, will minimize confusion among both voters and trained election officials,” the court wrote.
Last month, a district court in Corpus Christi granted a permanent injunction against the voter ID law, defying the U.S. Department of Justice, which asked the court to end efforts to overturn the law.
The DOJ said it was satisfied Senate Bill 5 “eradicates any discriminatory effect or intent” and expands voter identification options.
In a brief filed with the 5th Circuit on Aug. 25, Paxton argued that “the state provided the district court with record citations showing that the seven reasonable impediments enumerated in SB 5 alleviate every single burden alleged by the 14 named plaintiffs and their 13 testifying witnesses. The district court order did not even acknowledge this evidence or the state’s argument.”