A federal court judge has shot down changes to Texas voting laws for a second time. Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos, who first ruled against the law in 2014, found that the changes made earlier in the year are insufficient and carry “chilling” consequences. The updated law did not expand the list of documents that would be acceptable forms of identification for voting. Instead, the law allows voters without the proper i.d. to sign an affidavit and show proof of name and address. Ramos believes that the list of acceptable documents should have been expanded. She also feels that voters who would need to sign an affidavit to vote may simply choose not to vote for fear that they may face criminal consequences if they make a mistake on the form. In her ruling, she stated that voters lacking education or confidence may forfeit their right to vote, fearful that they may be charged with perjury.
Texas’ voting laws have been criticized as being the strictest voting laws in the country. Critics have argued that the laws aim to suppress voting, particularly among minority groups. Ramos stated that the state’s “history of voter intimidation” contributed to her decision to not accept the new law.
Those in favor of the new law, including Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton, claim that the law will help maintain the integrity of the voting system. Paxton is outraged at the ruling and feels that the appeals court should overturn the decision. He argues, “The U.S. Department of Justice is satisfied that the amended voter ID law has no discriminatory purpose or effect”. He also believes that the new law includes everything that the 5th Circuit Court requested it to contain.
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