DOJ, SCOTUS consider Texas voter ID law

A federal magistrate has delayed an upcoming hearing in the Texas voter ID case until the incoming Trump Administration has time to discuss the case. The U.S. Department of Justice filed a motion for continuance on Inauguration Day, January 20, asking the court to delay a hearing that had been set for January 24 for at least 30 more days.

Catherine Engelbrecht, founder and president of True the Vote, was delighted at the news.  “All Texans should be thrilled about the opportunity to have a new administration weigh in on where we stand with voter ID,” she said, “something that is roundly supported, not just in Texas but nationally.”

But on Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court failed to overturn a lower-court decision that the rule somehow discriminated against blacks and Hispanics. Engelbrecht was not surprised that the ruling was made by an Obama-appointed judge.  “The Obama Department of Justice had a well-known bias against voter ID and against states’ rights, and that was never good for Texas, was never good for America, and we are thrilled that we are at the dawn of a new day.”

Engelbrecht is optimistic about the fortunes of the voter ID law as it continues to be appealed in the lower courts.  “I think we can all be encouraged that the Department of Justice under Attorney General Jeff Sessions is going to side on the side of states, on the side of citizens, who want voter ID,” she says.

The Texas Legislature may now try to fix the legal issues with the law on its own.  If so, Engelbrecht says it’s important to make your voice heard.  “If you are for voter ID, make sure that they know that,” she urges.  “Because if it does come to the Texas legislature, they need that vote of confidence from their constituents.”  She adds that it’s “incumbent upon all of us” to let the legislature know we want “free and fair elections.”

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