After Supreme Court ruling, states see green light for voter ID laws
June 25th, 2013
06:14 PM ET
1 year ago

After Supreme Court ruling, states see green light for voter ID laws

(CNN) – With the Supreme Court's ruling Tuesday on the Voting Rights Act, Mississippi and Texas announced they're ready to move forward with their controversial voter identification laws.

Eleven states in the past two years have approved laws that would require voters to show identification at voting booths. But Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act required some of those states with a history of voter discrimination to get "precleared" by the federal government before making any changes to voting laws.

A separate part of the law known as Section 4 relies on a federal formula to determine which states would be covered under that "preclearance" regime.

Requests by Texas and Mississippi for clearance in their voter ID laws were pending with the federal government when the high court struck down the constitutionality of the act's Section 4 on Tuesday, which also appears to have nullified Section 5.

Delbert Hosemann, Mississippi's secretary of state, interpreted the court's decision to mean his state was on "equal footing" with other states and could move forward with its voter ID law without getting permission from the government.

"The Court's decision removes requirements for Mississippi to travel through the expensive and time consuming federal application process for any change to state, county, or municipal voting law," he said in a statement. "This chapter is closed."

Hosemann said Mississippi would begin implementing its voter ID law starting Tuesday.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott issued a similar statement, declaring voting laws have been applied "unequally" to some states and Tuesday's ruling negates that inequality.

"Today's ruling ensures that Texas is no longer one of just a few states that must seek approval from the federal government before its election laws can take effect," he said. "With today's decision, the State's voter ID law will take effect immediately."

Texas passed its voter ID law in 2011, with backers claiming the measure was necessary to prevent fraud.

Opponents, however, say such laws discriminate against minorities, given that a large percentage of minority voters do not have state-issued identification cards.

Nationwide, the NAACP claims a quarter of African-Americans and 16% of Latinos of voting age lack a current government-issued photo ID.

Alabama also had a voter ID law pending with the federal government and set to go into effect in 2014 if "precleared." While its attorney general and secretary of state praised the Supreme Court's decision, the state did not say yet whether it will proceed with its new law.

States that may wish to implement their voter ID laws may still face another hurdle, as civil rights groups and even the federal government could seek legal action to block the laws under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, another part of the law that works to prevent discrimination.

– CNN's Bill Mears, Jessica Yellin and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.


Filed under: Mississippi • Texas
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. DrJones46142

    “Its a law everyone needs to carry ID. Why is it so hard for these people to produce ID when voting. These people have no problem producing ID for cigarettes, alcohol, free Obama phones and welfare. Why cant they use ID to vote.”

    June 25, 2013 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  2. BADGUY

    Score a BIG WIN for white, apartheid, America!

    June 25, 2013 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  3. BADGUY

    You think 2012 meant long lines for Blacks in these states. JUST WAIT until 2014. HELLO POLL TAXES!

    June 25, 2013 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  4. BADGUY

    Poll Taxes are now "alive and well" in the United States...thanks to our Supreme Court!

    June 25, 2013 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  5. CronoT

    Well, if we're going through the 1930's again, it looks like WWIII is on it's way. But we can all relax, because the 60's Sexual Revolution is only a scant 25 years from now.

    For those who can't tell, that was sarcasm.

    June 25, 2013 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  6. Evergreen

    Actions like these motivate people to exercise their right to vote and stop the "my vote don't count" mentality. If it did not count certain groups would not have spent time and money trying to take it away.

    June 25, 2013 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  7. colleen

    Help me out here. How is it discrimination to require that the people who vote in elections that shape our country, show proof of their identity ? What exactly is the big deal about obtaining a government issued photo id? Even in New York State, where everything is overpriced, a non-driver photo id only costs around $12 and lasts for 4 or 6 years.

    June 25, 2013 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  8. rs

    The Right is correct- we don't need "activist" judges!

    June 25, 2013 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  9. David Hoffman

    "Nationwide, the NAACP claims a quarter of African-Americans and 16% of Latinos of voting age lack a current government-issued photo ID." OK, instead of spending millions of dollars opposing the law, now the NAACP and other similar groups can spend the litigation and lobbying money on helping people get the proper government issued photo ID in order to vote. We are talking about less than 10% of the legal citizen population of the USA that would be eligible to vote, if not for their lack of having a proper current legal government-issued photo ID. 90% of citizen population of the USA has managed to do what is necessary to get the needed ID.

    June 25, 2013 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  10. VVVVV

    Controversial voter ID laws, but they are also supported by the majority of people. Time to treat all states as equal.

    June 26, 2013 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  11. dianne

    the Republicans don't want Blacks and Minority to vote. They don't want Hispanic as Citizens. We keep America RUNNING. It is time for us to show our contributions to these United States. I suggest we SHUT DOWN for 3 days...DON'T BUY, DON'T PATRONIZED, DON'T RIDE BUSES OR CONTRIBUTE ANYTHING TO THE ECONOMY. for just 3 days. The Republicans and the Supreme Court has taken and is taking away our RIGHTS...ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. And if they keep refusing to work with the President, our next step would be to repeat not patronizing...this time for a week. They have gotten RICH on our backs and have the nerve to (as my mother use to say) BITE THE HANDS THAT FEED THEM.
    It is time for the poor, minorities and the middle class to stand up.

    June 26, 2013 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  12. Tracey Kilts

    Voter ID should be a recuirment that way its far for all parties, that way NO ONE can vote more then once. if you dont have an ID go to the DMV and get one they are 8.00.

    June 26, 2013 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  13. Just_realistic

    Finally, some sense out of the SCOTUS

    June 26, 2013 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  14. Uh-Clem

    More headwinds bombard progressive initiatives from the US Supreme Court. First was "Citizens United" and now it's open season on non-white voters. Reversing this abomination will require acts so egregious that the true freedom fighters will need to band together to right this wrong.

    June 26, 2013 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  15. Teej

    This is going to make voter turn out in non presidential years much more interesting.

    June 26, 2013 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  16. Tommy Mack

    The constitution says every American citizen has the right to vote. It says nothing about needing an ID.

    But some say that the right to bear arms is also guaranteed, but to hell if you require a background check.

    HYPOCRISY.

    Conservatives, you can't have it both ways. You are destroying America.

    June 26, 2013 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  17. dean

    Well another sad chapter is add to United State history book in this 21 century. This decision believe or not will give certain people in certain postion of power to use this decision too benefits their way of life and to protect their interest. Will need to continue to pray for this country and people in postion of goverment who supposed to have all the people of this country interest at heart but they don't

    June 26, 2013 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  18. Teddy Knight

    I thought the "motor voter" act made it illegal to ask for ID at the polling place, ID is supposed to be established at registration. The recent voter ID laws which were invalidated were invalidated because of conflict with that federal law.

    June 26, 2013 02:32 am at 2:32 am |
  19. Zerubbabel

    They will maintain power by hook or crook. If voter fraud was prevalent then by all means require id at the polls. I have been registered to vote in four states, PA, VA, MA and NY. In all I had to provide ID and proof of residency in order to register. Here in Westchester Co, NY I had to show 6 pieces of ID. So to make me show specific state ID at the polling station along with my voter registration card is double kill, just require specific id to aquire the voter registration card. The new employees that I hire can use the voter registration card as verification for the federal I-9 form but it is not sufficient to vote in the issuing state? Maybe I can use the 2nd amendment rights argument that if the gubmint creates a register for voter rolls, they will take away my constitutional right to vote. Hands off my 13th, 14th and 15th amendment, free citizens vote.

    June 26, 2013 02:32 am at 2:32 am |
  20. downwithnazis

    Clear proof that the protections under the Voting Rights Act were necessary, you Supreme Court toadies.

    June 26, 2013 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  21. Chris

    I find it troubling that these states – who have all shown a history of racist and restrictive behavior – the moment the law has been struck down are so eager to rush through a slew of new laws.

    June 26, 2013 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  22. MICHAEL WHITE

    So, according to the NAACP,"a quarter of African-Americans and 16% of Latinos of voting age lack a current government-issued photo ID". What the heck?! State IDs are inexpensive, usually average between $25 and $30 at the most. These people can't afford to put up that small amount to get an ID card? That's ridiculous! and I don't buy it. What this really amounts to is attempts to allow people who are not citizens the ability to vote. And I guarantee people will not follow the "Honor" system!

    June 26, 2013 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  23. Bob

    If you're over 18 in the US it's illegal not to possess an ID (not exclusively a driver's license, but some form of state issued ID). If you don't have any such form of ID then (in the overwhelming majority of cases) you're either wholly irresponsible (and breaking the law) or you're not an actual, legal US citizen. Either way, you shouldn't have a vote.

    June 26, 2013 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  24. aCriticalEye

    Of course TEXAS would be first out the gate to suppress voter rights. If the poor cant vote, the better it will be for the priviledged. Banning abortion because life is so important, banning planned parenthood, but being #1 in capital punishment. Please sucede from the union...please

    June 26, 2013 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  25. sparky

    Can't the GOP win elections without voter suppression? Go ahead and document in great detail 10's of thousands of voter fraud cases that occurred in 2012 and that tipped the election in favor of the Democrats. Didn't happen. The real reason is that they can't win if minorities honestly go to the polls and vote.

    June 26, 2013 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
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