Media contacts: Christina Sanders, 281-849-8683/Candice Smart 323-928-5010
Texas League of Young Voters Education Fund Granted Legal Permission to Intervene in Texas v. Holder Voter ID Lawsuit
Texas v. Holder Trial Scheduled for July 9-13 in Washington, D.C.
HOUSTON, Texas, March 30, 2012 – Today, the Texas League of Young Voters Education Fund announced that a federal court has granted permission for the non-profit organization to intervene in Texas v. Holder, a lawsuit aimed at preventing the implementation of a discriminatory voter ID law. Represented by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), the Texas League of Young Voters Education Fund and a group of Black college students at Prairie View A & M and Texas Southern universities, originally filed the motion to be named defendant-intervenors on March 19. The court’s latest ruling brings the group one step closer to successfully defending the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act and defeating the Texas voter ID law once and for all.
In Texas v. Holder, the state of Texas is asking a federal court to approve, under the Section 5 preclearance provision of the Voting Rights Act, one of the most restrictive government-issued photo identification laws in the country. The state of Texas previously asked the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) to approve its voter ID law, however, the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division blocked the state from enforcing the new law, contending that the law would disproportionately affect eligible voters of color, who are more likely to lack accepted forms of photo ID than eligible white voters.
“Our clients seek to join this case to illustrate the discriminatory nature of Texas’s photo ID measure, and the true costs and burdens of obtaining the underlying documents necessary to secure Texas’s so-called ‘free’ photo ID,” said Natasha Korgaonkar, LDF Assistant Counsel. “Our experience teaches us that a student’s ability to pay a fee should not determine whether they can vote.”
Voter ID laws in Texas, and in other states, disproportionately weaken the voting strength of voters of color. Nationally, only 8% of white voting age citizens, but 25% of African American voting age citizens, lack a government-issued photo ID. As a result, thousands of college students across Texas, which is home to several historically Black colleges and universities, risk being denied their voting rights.
“Many of our student members voted in previous elections in Texas using the only form of identification they had—a state-issued student ID—which would no longer be acceptable under Texas’s proposed photo ID law,” said Christina Sanders, Director of the Texas League of Young Voters Education Fund. “While a student ID will not satisfy Texas’s proposed ID measure, a concealed handgun license will.”
The Texas v. Holder trial is set for July 9-13, 2012 in Washington, D.C.