Federal court rejects Texas voter ID law

A federal appeals court rejected a Texas law that would make voters present photo identification before being allowed to cast their vote, according to published reports.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled unanimously Thursday that the law would have an unfair impact on minority and poor voters in the state, particularly blacks and Hispanics.

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"The State of Texas enacted a voter ID law that — at least to our knowledge — is the most stringent in the country," the three-judge panel wrote in its decision. "That law will almost certainly have retrogressive effects: it imposes strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor, and racial minorities in Texas are disproportionately likely to live in poverty."

Specifically the law would have required voters to present a driver's license, a certificate of citizenship with photograph, a passport, a concealed gun carry permit, a military ID card, or an election ID card to vote.

The law was signed by Gov. Rick Perry (R) in early 2011.

On Wednesday, another panel of federal court judges struck down a voter registration law in Florida, according to CBS News. Earlier in the week, a federal court in Texas also ruled that state's redistricting plan violated the Voting Rights Act.

"The court’s decision today and the decision earlier this week on the Texas redistricting plans not only reaffirm - but help protect - the vital role the Voting Rights Act plays in our society to ensure that every American has the right to vote and to have that vote counted," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said he was "disappointed" with the ruling but that the overall matter on voter ID laws would be settled by the Supreme Court when it takes up two cases challenging the Voting Rights Act.

"The Supreme Court will have the final say as Texas fights to preserve the integrity of the voting process with a commonsense, constitutional law vital to the health of our democracy," Cornyn said in a statement in response to the decision.

—This story was updated at 2:08 p.m. and 2:49 p.m.

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