The Justice Department on Monday rejected Texas' new voter identification law, saying it could disproportionately harm Latinos under the federal Voting Rights Act.In case you're wondering what role the Justice Department has in determining the validity of a Texas law, it seems Texas has a little history of racism:
"Hispanics disproportionately lack either a driver's license or a personal identification card," Assistant Atty. Gen. Thomas E. Perez, head of the Justice Department's civil rights division, wrote in a letter to Keith Ingram, director of elections for the Texas secretary of state.
Perez noted that state data showed nearly 800,000 people lacked driver's licenses and personal identification cards issued by the state Department of Public Safety, two key forms of identification required under the new law. More than 38% of those lacking the ID were Latino, he noted.
[B]ecause of past voting rights violations in 16 states or portions of states, certain jurisdictions — including Texas — must first obtain "preclearance," or permission from the Justice Department or a federal court in Washington before changing election procedures.
Under the Texas voter ID law, passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Perry, voters must present one of seven forms of state or federally issued photo ID at the polls, including handgun permits. Those without the required ID may receive a provisional ballot, but it will only be counted if they return and present an approved ID within six days of the election, according to the Texas secretary of state's website.