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Lone Star Project Report

Judge’s Order Knocking Down Voter ID Requirements Signed

Abbott/Paxton efforts to change the order fail

Yesterday afternoon, Federal District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos rejected efforts by attorneys representing Greg Abbott and other Republican leaders to renege on their originally agreed upon procedures for Texas voters in the 2016 elections.  The new procedures ordered by Judge Ramos assure the security of the ballot while ending the onerous requirements passed by Republican leaders that discriminated against over one-half million Texas citizens.

Here’s a breakdown of Judge Ramos’ order:
ID procedures for voting during the November 8, 2016 General Election

  • Voters who present a driver’s license, government issued identification card, concealed carry permit, passport, a military ID, or a citizenship certificate will continue to be able to cast a ballot as they did before Judge Ramos’ order yesterday.
  • Texas voters who present poll workers with a utility bill, paycheck, bank statement, government check, voter registration card, or another government issued document containing the voter’s name and address will be able to cast a regular ballot.
    • Under the court order, poll workers will not be permitted to question voters about their lack of an identification card such as a driver’s license. Instead, a voter who presents a document such as a utility bill will be able to conveniently sign a form declaring they have an impediment to getting a photo ID.  They will then be allowed to cast a regular ballot.

 Voter Information and Education

  • The Judge ordered the State of Texas to create a $2.5 million “detailed voter education plan” by August 15th to inform Texas voters about how the new procedures will affect them as they head to the polls.
  • Judge Ramos also ordered the state to quickly develop a “detailed election official training program” by August 15th so that poll workers will be able to effectively communicate the new voting procedures to voters this Fall.

Judge Ramos’ order is a clear victory for the Veasey plaintiffs and other plaintiff groups who challenged the discriminatory law.  However, don’t expect Governor Abbott or Texas Republican officials to necessarily follow the order in good faith.  Already, there are concerns that the state has hired a PR firm that specializes in damage control rather than voter education.