Justice Dept. Will Drop a Key Objection to a Texas Voter ID Law
Voters in line at a polling site on Super Tuesday in Austin last year. The Republican-led Texas Legislature passed one of the the strictest voter ID laws in the country in 2011. Ilana Panich-Linsman for The New York Times
HOUSTON — Signaling a significant change from the Obama administration on voting-rights issues, the Justice Department is preparing to drop a crucial objection to Texas’ strict voter-identification law, lawyers involved in the case said Monday.
The Republican-led Texas Legislature passed one of the strictest voter ID laws in the country in 2011, requiring voters to show a driver’s license, passport or other government-issued photo ID before casting a ballot.
The Obama administration’s Justice Department sued Texas to block the law in 2013 and scored a major victory last year after a federal appeals court ruled that the law needed to be softened because it discriminated against minority voters who lacked the required IDs.
Opponents of the law said Republican lawmakers selected IDs that were most advantageous for Republican-leaning white voters and discarded IDs that were beneficial to Democratic-leaning minority voters. For example, legislators included licenses to carry concealed handguns, which are predominantly carried by whites, and excluded government employee IDs and public university IDs, which are more likely to be used by blacks, Hispanics and Democratic-leaning younger voters.