The Brennan Center for Justice and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, on behalf of the Texas State Conference of the NAACP, submitted a comment letter opposing preclearance of a recently enacted set of changes to the State of Texas’s Election Code. We respectfully request that the Department deny Section 5 preclearance to this legislation because these changes, which are set forth in Senate Bill 14, will disproportionately impact African-American and Latino citizens and have a retrogressive effect on minority voting strength across the State of Texas.
Our comment letter summarizes the new voter identification requirements contained in Senate Bill 14 and outlines the special burdens—both financial and logistical—that these provisions will impose upon African-American and Latino voters in Texas. The letter also reviews some of the legislative history behind Senate Bill 14, which demonstrates that the new voter ID provisions may have been enacted with discriminatory intent. In light of this evidence of Senate Bill 14’s discriminatory effects and potentially discriminatory purpose, and the State of Texas’s failure to provide adequate information disproving both discriminatory effects and intent, Texas has failed to meet its burden under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Accordingly, the Department should deny preclearance for Senate Bill 14
Below you will find a copy of the 1st letter that was sent to the Justice Department on September 14, 2011. We will be posting our 2nd letter soon