The law, approved in 2011, requires voters to present state-issued photo identification to vote. Federal courts had ruled that Texas did not provide sufficient evidence that the law was not discriminatory. However, after the Supreme Court struck down the formula used to determine which municipalities must submit to preclearance and therefore nullified Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, the court decision was undone.
The law requires a Texas driver's license, personal ID card, or election identification certificate (EIC). However, many counties in Texas don't have their own driver's license office "[requiring] some voters to travel approximately 200 miles round trip in order to obtain an EIC" according the suit.
"We will not allow the Supreme Court's recent decision to be interpreted as open season for states to pursue measures that suppress voting rights," said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
In June, the Supreme Court ruled that Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), which determines which districts have to submit changes in their voting practice and regulation regardless of size to the Department of Justice (DOJ) in accordance with Section 5 of the VRA, was unconstitutional. In doing so, the Court essentially nullified Section 5 requiring preclearance in voting regulation changes. Section 5 has been used to stop over 700 discriminatory laws from going into effect between 1982 and 2006.
Media Resources: NPR 8/22/2013; Reuters 8/22/2013; Feminist Newswire 7/25/2013, 6/25/2013
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .