The revised Texas Voter ID law will be in place for upcoming elections following a decision from the Court of Appeals staying a lower court injunction that had put the election integrity rule on hold.

In a 2-to-1 decision, a panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that Texas was likely to prevail on the merits of its case and that an injunction against implementation of the Voter ID law was unnecessary. “A temporary stay here, while the court can consider arguments on the merits, will minimize confusion among both voters and trained election officials,” the court wrote.

In August Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos issued a temporary injunction barring implementation of the new law despite requests by the Department of Justice asking the court to end efforts to overturn the law. Ramos was appointed in 2011 to the Southern District of Texas by President Barack Obama.

The current litigation is occurring after the legislature updated the Voter ID law this session to bring it into compliance with past court rulings. In order to accommodate Texans who lack photo identification, the new law allows Texans to vote without a photo ID if they also sign an affidavit under penalty of perjury attesting to the reason they lack one.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton praised the decision.

“We’re pleased that the 5th Circuit agrees that Texas’ voter ID law should remain in effect for upcoming elections,” Paxton said. “Safeguarding the integrity of our election process is essential to preserving our democracy, and the voter ID law provides simple protections to ensure our elections accurately reflect the will of voters in Texas.”

The Court of Appeals will now proceed to take up the case on its merits. Once that decision is reached, it will likely be followed by additional appeals and litigation at the trial court level.

Tony McDonald

Tony McDonald serves as General Counsel to Texas Scorecard. A licensed and practicing attorney, Tony specializes in the areas of civil litigation, legislative lawyering, and non-profit regulatory compliance. Tony resides in Austin with his wife and daughter and attends St. Paul Lutheran Church.


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