The Trump administration and the Justice Department made a significant move on voter ID laws Monday, announcing that the the federal government will no longer be part of a long running court case in opposition to a Texas Voter ID law.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) February 27, 2017
Newly appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a former U.S. senator from Alabama, has long been a supporter of voter identification laws.
— The Hill (@thehill) February 27, 2017
The action was denounced by the Campaign Legal Center deputy director of voting rights, Danielle Lang, who has been fighting against the Texas law. She said the center was notified by the Justice Department that it will no longer participate in the suit.
“It’s a complete 360,” said Lang, referring to the support they received from the Justice Department under the Obama administration, which joined the suit in 2013.
“We can’t make heads or tails of any factual reason for the change. There has been no new evidence that’s come to light,” she said.
She added, “This signals to voters that they will not be protected under this administration.”
“We have already had a nine-day trial and presented thousands of pages of documents demonstrating that the picking and choosing of what IDs count was entirely discriminatory and would fall more harshly on minority voters. So for the (Justice Department) to come in and drop those claims just because of a change of administration is outrageous,” Lang concluded.
A hearing on the case is scheduled for Tuesday, at which time the federal government may discuss its intent more fully.
DOJ spox: looming filing in TX #VoterID case “seeks to dismiss the discriminatory purpose claim, but not the discriminatory effect claim.”
— Jim Malewitz (@Jmalewitz) February 27, 2017
The Texas law requires voters to show one of seven forms of identification in order to vote. Last year, the law was adapted to allow voters without a driver’s license or other valid ID to sign an affidavit saying they faced a barrier to getting the required form of ID.
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