A federal court ruled on July 20 that Texas' voter ID law was unconstitutional, resulting in a win for voter rights advocates.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, one of the nation's most conservative, according to Reuters, ruled 9-6 that Texas' requirement of voters to show identification before voting disproportionately affected poor and nonwhite voters.
"We acknowledge the charged nature of accusations of racism, particularly against a legislative body, but we must also face the sad truth that racism continues to exist in our modern American society despite years of laws designed to eradicate it," the court said.
Harvard University professor Stephen Ansolabehere analyzed more than 500,000 registered voters who didn’t have ID but had the right to vote in Texas, reports Bloomberg News. Of those 500,000 voters, Latinos were 195 percent more likely to not have ID than white voters and black voters were 305 percent more likely, this resulting in fewer nonwhite voters unable to cast a vote, despite having a right to do so.
“The court got it right, recognizing the stink of discrimination,” said Trey Martinez Fischer, a Texas state representative and chairman of the Mexican-American Legislative Caucus, reported The New York Times.
The Mexican-American Legislative Caucus was one of several minority groups, voters and Democratic lawmakers who sued Texas over the law, according to The New York Times.
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch also supported the court's ruling.
"This decision affirms our position that Texas’ highly restrictive voter ID law abridges the right to vote on account of race or color and orders appropriate relief before yet another election passes,” she said.
But Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican who defended his state's voter ID law, did not approve of the court's ruling.
"Preventing voter fraud is essential to accurately reflecting the will of Texas voters during elections, and it is unfortunate that this common-sense law, providing protections against fraud, was not upheld in its entirety," he said, according to Reuters.