Friday, June 23, 2017

Court sets fast pace for possible Texas voter ID penalties

With the next election season looming, a federal judge has set a fast-paced schedule for determining whether Texas should be penalized for a voter ID law found to have been written to intentionally discriminate against minority voters. Saying no additional hearings will be needed in her Corpus Christi courtroom, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos gave lawyers two weeks to file legal briefs on the matter, with a final round of response briefs due July 17. Ramos also said she wants to receive arguments about whether Texas should be placed under preclearance — meaning the U.S. Justice Department would have to approve changes to voting laws or practices in the state to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act. Lawyers for Texas have told Ramos that state election officials need a decision by Aug. 10, when voter certificates are finalized and sent to each county for printing. The officials want the certificates to include information on what form of identification voters need to take to the polls in 2018.

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