Texans will need to show a photo ID to vote in November.
An appeals court on Tuesday afternoon upheld the status quo by blocking a lower-court ruling to overturn the voter ID law.
Judge Edith Brown Clement wrote on behalf of a three-judge panel on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals:
This is not a run-of-the-mill case; instead, it is a voting case decided on
the eve of the election. The judgment below substantially disturbs the election
process of the State of Texas just nine days before early voting begins. Thus,
the value of preserving the status quo here is much higher than in most other
The decision marks a loss for the Justice Department, which has criticized the voter law as oppressive to minority voters.
The feds said 600,000 eligible voters in Texas, mostly minorities, do not have the proper photo IDs, and now have less than a month to get one before Election Day.
In Texas, a concealed handgun license counts as a valid form of identification, but a student ID card does not. Advocacy groups say the law will create barriers for students, who statistically are more likely to vote Democrat than gun-toting elders. The state offers photo IDs for free, but critics note that obtaining supporting documentation needed to request a state ID card can be costly and time-consuming for the working class.
Texas and other states with a history of discriminating against minority voters used to need approval from the Justice Department or a federal court to change their election laws. But the Supreme Court last year struck down that provision, clearing the way for a number of conservative states to move forward with stricter voter ID laws.
Challengers of the ruling may appeal to the Supreme Court.
Emily DeRuy is a Washington, D.C.-based associate editor, covering education, reproductive rights, and inequality. A San Francisco native, she enjoys Giants baseball and misses Philz terribly.