Just days after a federal court in Washington, DC found that Texas' redistricting maps were discriminatory, another three-judge panel in the nation's capitol found that it was unlawful to require voters to present photo ID's to election officials before they would be allowed to vote in the upcoming presidential elections in November. The three judges unanimously decided that the law imposes "strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor" and commented that those living in poverty are composed mainly of racial minorities (USA Today). The Obama administration agreed with the judges' decision to eliminate the requirements, saying they threatened to disenfranchise millions of Latino and African American voters (Horwitz). .
Republicans nationwide are attempting to impose strict voter identification requirements, citing that they want to eliminate voter fraud. However, according to many studies, voter fraud is almost non-existent. Instead, Democrats believe that conservative Republicans are attempting to discourage certain people from voting at all, including minorities, the nation's poor, and college students, because they typically vote against Republicans (USA Today). .
While Republican lawmakers commented that they were obliging to popular demand for stricter election protections, several Democratic lawmakers found an underlying racial prejudice as the basis of the law. Lawyers for the state of Texas argued that they had rights to protect their elections and that historically, voter ID laws did not have a huge impact on voter turnout (USA Today). .
Attorney General Eric Holder compared the voter ID law to poll taxes enforced in the days after Reconstruction when blacks were not allowed to vote. According to Holder, not all Texas voters would be able to pay for the documents that they need in order to get a photo ID, which clearly discriminates against the poor (USA Today).
In 2011, South Carolina attempted a similar voter ID requirement, which was turned down by the Justice Department.