The federal government is suing the state of Texas. The Department of Justice says the state's new voter ID law is discriminatory. Attorney General Eric Holder says this lawsuit against Texas is an attempt to protect the voting rights of all Americans. According to the DOJ Texas adopted it's new voter identification law to discourage minorities from voting.
So is Texas trying to discriminate against minorities by putting a law in place requiring voters to show identification before they can vote? That depends on who you ask. "I think it's a way to intimidate voters and to keep them from going to vote. We're out registering voters all the time. We want people to participate in our democracy, not be intimidated by it," says Texas Democratic Congressman Gene Green.
"I think this is an example of Eric Holder administering justice in a partisan matter as opposed to a bi-partisan and impartial manner. I can't fly to Washington without my license. It's not too much to ask people to prove who they are to cast a vote," says Texas Republican Congressman Pete Olson.
November will be the first election since the new law took effect. Every Texas voter will be required to show identification. So what's expected at the polls? "I expect mostly for it to be the same," says Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart. Stanart says 95% of early voters normally take their ID to the polls anyway.
"Typically seniors may not have their driver license anymore but they still want to vote," adds Green.
"Over 65 you do not have to have a photo ID if you vote by mail. In Texas we don't discriminate. We want our voters to vote," Stanart says. That's now up to a federal court to decide. The Department of Justice is also seeking to intervene in a lawsuit which claims Texas redistricting laws also discriminate against minority voters. If you're not clear about what this means for you when you head to vote in November. Find me on Facebook at Damali Keith FOX 26 or on Twitter @DamaliFox26 and I'll be happy to answer any questions you have.
The list of acceptable forms of identification you can use to vote include a driver license, state ID, concealed handgun license, military ID, passport and U.S. citizenship certificate. If you don't have any of those types of ID you can get a free Texas Election Identification Certificate from the Texas Department of Public Safety. Go to www.harrisvotes.org for more information.