Appeals court upholds democratic principal of participation in lawsuit challenging Texas’ discriminatory Voter ID law

At its core, democracy is about participation. The future of our state is stronger when more Texans have the opportunity to participate in the decisions and processes that impact our lives. That’s why we knew Texas’ Voter ID law, SB 14, was such an affront to democracy. That’s why LUPE and other plaintiffs challenged it in court. And that’s why we won.

From the beginning, Texas’ Voter ID law violated that principal of participation. Texas’ SB 14 was the most limiting voter ID law in the nation, allowing polling officials to accept only a handful of ID types, and ensuring that those without access to those ID types, predominantly members of the African American and Latino communities, would be turned away at the polls. Texas RioGrande Legal Aid represented us in asking the court to strike down the discriminatory law.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals dealt a blow to Texas’ efforts to restrict participation by ruling that Texas’ SB 14 is illegal under the federal Voting Rights Act and that there has to be something different put in place before the November elections. The appeals court instructs a lower court to draw up an interim remedy that will right the wrongs the law created. In the ruling, the appeals court underscores that the remedy should be ready in time for voters to cast their ballots in the 2016 elections.

In light of this ruling, we affirm the principal that participation is what makes democracy work. From advocating for safer, healthier neighborhoods, to voting for representatives that support our ideals in Austin and Washington, we should all have the opportunity to play a role in making the state and the nation a better place.

We celebrate this victory today and continue to work to remove barriers to participation at the local, state and national levels. Our work is to elevate the voices of everyday people, so that one day, all of our voices will be heard and respected at the State Capitol and beyond.

You can be part of LUPE’s effort to make every voice count by registering to vote, if you are eligible, or by joining LUPE’s Ven con Diez campaign, to learn how to animate your friends and family to vote. Contact a LUPE office near you to learn how to get involved, or sign up online to volunteer.

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