Justice Department asks federal court not to challenge Texas voter ID law

Justice Department asks federal court not to challenge Texas voter ID law
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The Justice Department argued on Thursday that Texas's controversial voter identification law urged a federal court in the state not to take further action on the measure, arguing that it no longer discriminates against minority voters.

In a court filing, the Justice Department said that changes made to the original 2011 voter ID law remedied discrimination concerns and should be allowed to go into effect without further legal challenges from a U.S. district court.

Texas's original voter ID law, passed by the state's legislature in 2011, has faced numerous legal challenges. Courts repeatedly found that it discriminates against minority voters and the elderly. 

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State lawmakers passed a revamped version of the measure in May that supporters hope can pass legal muster.

"Texas’s voter ID law both guarantees to Texas voters the opportunity to cast an in-person ballot and protects the integrity of Texas’s elections. S.B. 5 thus removes any 'discriminatory effect' or intent the Court found in S.B. 14 and advances Texas’s legitimate 'policy objectives' in adopting a voter ID law," the filing reads.

U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos will make the decision as to whether the court will take further action on the bill. She's already ruled against the original bill twice, saying that it was clearly designed to deter and suppress minority voters.

The filing by the Justice Department marks the Trump administration's latest effort to reverse the federal government's position on Texas's voter ID law. 

The administration dropped an Obama-era argument in February that Texas lawmakers had enacted the law with discriminatory intent. 

The state's original voter ID law was considered the toughest in the nation. Voters were required to present one of seven forms of government-issued photo identification before they could cast their ballots.

Critics of the measure, however, argued that the types of identification required by law are more commonly carried by white voters, while kinds of IDs more commonly held by minority voters were excluded. 

The revised law allows people without the state-approved forms of identification to vote if they can provide a supporting document, like a bank statement or bill, that includes their name and address on it.