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Posts Tagged ‘Voting Rights Act’

We still can’t get new maps

Seriously? To avoid confusion and uncertainty, the state’s 2016 elections for Congress and the Texas House will proceed under the current political maps, a three-judge federal panel in San Antonio said late Friday. The court previously approved maps for use in Texas Senate races, but the lines for congressional and state House districts remain under […]

$8 million and counting for voter ID litigation

Ka-ching. Republicans used their majority in 2011 to muscle through the Legislature a controversial voter ID law and new redistricting maps — and Texas taxpayers haven’t stopped picking up the bill for the state to defend those measures in courts ever since. Texas’ total legal tab to date: more than $8 million, data obtained under […]

The stakes in the voter ID appeal

Rick Hasen lays it out. Don’t worry, Chief Justice John Roberts assured the American public in that 2013 case, Shelby County v. Holder. Although states with a history of racial discrimination would no longer be subject to federal “preclearance” of voting changes because preclearance offends the “equal sovereignty” of states such as Texas, there’s always […]

Meyers voter ID lawsuit to proceed

An update on that other voter ID lawsuit. Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Larry Meyers claims that the state’s voter ID law violates the Texas Constitution, and the court ruled that the case will proceed after rejecting defendants’ arguments that the court lacked jurisdiction. Meyers—who filed the lawsuit as a private citizen, not as […]

Another Voting Rights Act lawsuit filed

Naturally, it originates in Texas. Today, on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) sued the State of Texas, the Williamson County Elections Department, and the city of Round Rock for denying Asian American voters with limited English proficiency the right to […]

Voter ID may have had broader effects than we thought

Interesting. Texas’ strict voter identification requirements kept many would-be voters in a Hispanic-majority congressional district from going to the polls last November — including many who had proper IDs — a new survey shows. And the state’s voter ID law – coupled with lackluster voter education efforts – might have shaped the outcome of a […]

Fifth Circuit affirms that Texas voter ID law violates Voting Rights Act

Good. Texas’ four-year-old voter ID law violates the Voting Rights Act but is not a “poll tax” barred under the U.S. Constitution, a federal appeals court has ruled. The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday ruled that the Texas voter ID law – signed into law in 2011 – has a “discriminatory effect” […]

Clinton goes big on voting rights

I like the sound of this. Accusing Republicans of a systematic effort to undercut voter access to the ballot box, Hillary Clinton called for expansive reforms to U.S. election laws in a speech Thursday. The front-runner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination also called out four potential Republican opponents — including former Texas Gov. Rick […]

SCOTUS to hear Texas “one person one vote” challenge

Gird your loins. When drawing voting districts, should lawmakers seek to make each district have roughly the same number of people, or the same number of people eligible to vote? The Supreme Court is going to answer that question, the court announced Tuesday morning. The question lies at the heart of a Texas case, and […]

Another redistricting update

Once again from Russ Tidwell, writing at Letters from Texas. The three judge federal panel in San Antonio is nearing a final decision on redistricting litigation for the Texas House and congressional delegation. As previously discussed here, multiple weeks of trial have provided a mountain of evidence of intentional discrimination and dilution of the opportunity […]

Voter ID appeal report

The Trib reports from New Orleans. A federal appellate judge on Tuesday questioned why the Texas Legislature had not addressed concerns that its four-year-old voter ID law discriminated against minority voters. U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Catharina Haynes stopped short of rebuking state lawmakers while listening to attorneys spar over what are widely […]

Fifth Circuit to hear Texas voter ID appeal

There’s more than one big appellate case being heard today. The Texas voter identification law will make a stop at a federal appeals court in New Orleans on Tuesday on a likely path to the U.S. Supreme Court. Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller and lawyers representing plaintiffs, including the U.S. Justice Department, will present arguments […]

The At Large trend

From Think Progress: Yakima, WA is one-third Latino, but a Latino candidate has not been elected to the city council for almost 40 years. Santa Barbara, CA is 38 percent Latino, but only one Latino has been elected to its council in the last 10 years. And Pasadena, TX is 43 percent Hispanic, but the […]

Ellis files bill to protect voting rights

From the inbox: Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) releases the following statement regarding tomorrow’s 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” part of the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama: “‘Bloody Sunday’ played a pivotal role in the long and painful struggle for civil rights and equal opportunities for all Americans,” said Senator Ellis. “Hundreds of […]

Voter fingerprint ID

This has superficial appeal, but I don’t believe it holds up under close scrutiny. Fingerprints can now be used to unlock smart phones, car engines, even guns. Why not ballots, too? A New Mexico legislator has just proposed that his state’s election officials study the feasibility of a biometric voter identification system. The idea is […]

Redistricting update

From Russ Tidwell, writing at Letters from Texas: There is well-established case law around redistricting that calls for creating a new minority opportunity district anytime a compact majority of a single minority group can be established (i.e., majority Black or majority Hispanic), but a combination of the two doesn’t necessarily count. While Texas is seeing […]

Don’t forget about Pasadena

There’s still a lawsuit in the works regarding their 2013 redistricting referendum that switched their Council from an eight-member all-district makeup to six districts and two At large seats, all at the behest of Mayor Johnny Isbell. Pasadena is preparing to change the makeup of its city council in a way that city fathers hope […]

Voter ID plaintiffs want Fith Circuit to get on with it

Some more unfinished business for the courts. Some plaintiffs challenging Texas’ voter ID law want a federal appeals court to speed up its consideration of the case, looking to sort it out before the next wave of elections in the state. In a court document filed Wednesday, the plaintiffs note that 5th U.S. Circuit Court […]

Art Murillo

Congratulations to Art Murillo, the first person of color elected to the Lone Star College Board of Trustees. Need I mention that it took a lawsuit for this to happen? Murillo, who is Latino, at one time might have seemed a long shot to win a seat on the Lone Star College board of trustees. […]

Lawsuit filed over Pasadena Council districts

Good. For 41 years, Alberto Patiño has lived in Pasadena and seen a lot of changes there. Now Hispanics like him make up more than 60 percent of residents and about 40 percent of eligible voters. Patiño wants that reflected on city council. “I feel that we should have more representation on City Council that […]

The larger issue on voter ID

The Trib reminds us that there are bigger questions that remain to be answered in the voter ID litigation. The litigation on the state’s voting district maps for legislative and congressional elections is still underway, and the treatment of minority voters and their ability to elect the candidates they choose is at the center of […]

SCOTUS declines to intervene on voter ID

Unfortunate. The Supreme Court said Saturday that Texas can use its controversial new voter identification law for the November election. A majority of the justices rejected an emergency request from the Justice Department and civil rights groups to prohibit the state from requiring voters to produce certain forms of photo identification in order to cast […]

Voter ID plaintiffs turn to SCOTUS

Last train, y’all. Texas plaintiffs on Wednesday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block the state’s voter photo ID law in November’s election. “The facts of this case, including record evidence, show that significantly more voter confusion will result from granting the stay (and thus enforcing Texas’s Senate Bill 14) than would result from reinstating […]

The courts giveth, and the courts taketh away

As expected, the Fifth Circuit lifts the stay on the district court’s voter ID ruling, paving the way (for now) for it to be enforced in November. Texas should require photo voter identification in this year’s general election, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday, overturning an earlier ruling by a federal district […]

Voter ID plaintiffs ask for no stay

They’ve filed their response to the Fifth Circuit. Attorneys challenging Texas’ voter ID law — which was struck down by a federal judge on Thursday — asked a federal appeals court on Sunday not to allow the state to enforce the law. In a brief filed with the U.S. 5th Circuit of Appeals, lawyers for […]

More on the voter ID ruling

As always with big court cases, the first question is who benefits politically from the decision? With a federal judge having declared Texas’ voter ID unconstitutional, Democrats and political experts on Friday predicted the surprise decision potentially could help Wendy Davis in the upcoming Nov. 4 general election. Republicans blasted the decision but said they […]

Court strikes down Texas voter ID law

Boom. Less than two weeks before the start of early voting, a federal judge ruled the state’s photo voter ID law unconstitutional late Thursday and ordered state officials to drop the new requirements. “The Court holds that SB 14 creates an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote, has an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics […]

Voter ID trial concludes

Now we wait for the judge. Texas’ voter ID law is discriminatory because it was designed to thwart emerging minority voting power in the state and should be dropped, attorneys for the law’s opponents said in closing arguments in a federal court on Monday. U.S. Department of Justice attorney Richard Dellheim repeated plaintiffs’ claims made […]

Voter ID trial testimony ends

The state of Texas put on its case in the voter ID trial. Lawyers from the Texas attorney general’s office presented witnesses Wednesday in federal court defending the state voter ID law as necessary and attempting to rebuff claims that it is discriminatory. The state’s case in the federal trial, now in its second week, […]

Defense to begin in voter ID lawsuit

Entering the home stretch. The Texas voter ID trial with national implications is shifting its focus in U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos’ courtroom Tuesday. After a week of testimony largely opposed to the law, the State of Texas’ legal team is slated to begin making its case for the law’s constitutionality and necessity after […]

The best coverage of the voter ID trial

You want to know what’s going on with the voter ID trial, which enters its second and likely final week today, go check out the Brennan Center for Justice, which has daily coverage that would put any newspaper to shame. Here’s a sample of what they’ve written so far: Texas Photo ID Trial Update: Opening […]

Voter ID trial starts today

As one trial ends, the next one begins. U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos in Corpus Christi will begin hearing arguments Tuesday on one of the nation’s most stringent voter ID measures, which Republican Gov. Rick Perry signed into law in 2011. A ruling is unlikely before Election Day, meaning that 13.6 million registered voters […]

Second phase of redistricting trial over

Much like the first phase, with some insults for one of the state’s key players thrown in for effect. Lawyers with the U.S. Justice Department and minority groups said in closing arguments in federal court Tuesday that state lawmakers illegally targeted Latino and African-American voters when redrawing congressional districts in 2011. Meanwhile, lawyers for the […]

On redistricting and race

Phase Two of the redistricting trial is underway, and if it sounds an awful lot like Phase One to you, you would be right. Texas’ Republican-controlled Legislature didn’t discriminate against minorities by drawing election maps in 2011 that voting-rights activists say make it harder for Hispanics and blacks to elect their candidates, a lawyer for […]