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Texas Voter ID Law Violates Voting Rights Act, Court Rules

Illustration by Cheryl Gerber/Todd Wiseman

Texas’ voter identification law violates the U.S. law prohibiting racial discrimination in elections, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday. 

The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed previous rulings that the 2011 voter ID law — which stipulates the types of photo identification election officials can and cannot accept at the polls — does not comply with the Voting Rights Act.

Read the full decision. 

The full court's ruling delivered the strongest blow yet to what is widely viewed as the nation’s strictest voter ID law. Under the law, most citizens (some, like people with disabilities, can be exempt) must show one of a handful of types of identification before their ballots can be counted: a state driver's license or ID card, a concealed handgun license, a U.S. passport, a military ID card, or a U.S citizenship certificate with a photo. 

The state has spent more than $3.5 million defending the law in five separate lawsuits. This lawsuit was filed three years ago by Rep. Marc Veasey, a Democrat from Fort Worth. Texas is still fighting challenges from the U.S. Department of Justice, minority groups and voting rights advocates.

This story will be updated throughout the day.