Senator Ellis Press Release

For Immediate Release
August 22, 2013
Contact: Jeremy Warren, 512-463-0113

Ellis Commends U.S. Attorney General on Lawsuit to Stop Voter ID

(Austin, Texas)— Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) today applauded the decision by the U.S. Department of Justice to file a lawsuit to stop the state's strict voter identification law.

"I commend Attorney General Holder for his ongoing fight to protect Texans' voting rights," said Ellis. "We can't ignore the fact that a federal court has already ruled that the controversial voter ID law will have a discriminatory impact on minorities and impose 'strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor.' I hope the court responds quickly to General Holder's lawsuit so that eligible, registered Texans trying to vote aren't disenfranchised at the ballot box."

In 2011, Texas also approved so-called voter ID legislation that will make it significantly more difficult for approximately one million eligible Texas voters to exercise their right to vote. The legislation established some of the most restrictive voting laws in the nation. The law -- opposed by groups ranging from AARP to MALDEF to the NAACP and LULAC -- requires voters to show picture identification in order to vote.

In August 2012, a three-judge panel in a federal court unanimously struck down the law, stating that it would impose "strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor" and have a discriminatory impact on minorities. That ruling came two days after another three-judge panel in the same federal court found that Texas had intentionally discriminated against minority voters in drawing redistricting maps.