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. Michael Benjamin

    This country is becoming an openly fascist.

    June 25, 2013 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  2. Me

    I don't see the issue with showing ID to vote, you have to have ID to drive, I don't want someone to walk up and use my name to vote!!!! What is the big deal???

    June 25, 2013 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  3. Jsmith

    Thank goodness. Now states can purge dead people from their voting lists (blocked by Holder) and block people from voting more than once.

    June 25, 2013 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  4. The REAL TRUTH...

    Once again the right-leaning SCOTUS struck a blow to the gut of the average American, clearing the way for right wing solutions-looking-for-a-problem like VoterID laws.
    This gives red-controlled states a green light on thinly veiled voter discrimination legislation... not a good day for America. Ranks right up there with their Citizens United decision.

    June 25, 2013 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  5. Wake up People!

    And so it begins.....the only way the GOP can win. Bang up job SC.

    June 25, 2013 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  6. Cephas

    Jim jim jim was he a crow or an activist There goes the activist bunch of rich 9 men and women who can't tell their left hand from their right!

    June 25, 2013 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  7. pkMyt1

    Typical right wing hookum. Show your ID to vote but buy all the guns you want without showing any ID.

    June 25, 2013 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  8. Rick McDaniel

    More importantly, the ability to stop voter fraud.

    June 25, 2013 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  9. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Not after the GOP loses the house and senate in 2014 and they introduce new legislation and Obama names new lever aka to the court.. States will eventually kick the GOP freaks out for incompetence!!!!!

    June 25, 2013 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  10. Data Driven

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

    Wasting no time, aren't they? And unlike the national folks like Cantor, the state bigots can eschew the fraudulent pieties about the importance of everyone having an equal opportunity to vote. Read the bit about Texas above: 25% of African Americans, 16% of Latinos, don't have photo IDs. Guess who won't be represented!

    So sorry, minorities, poors, and other undesirables. If John Roberts doesn't care that the phrase "photo ID" isn't actually written anywhere in the United States Constitution, then it must not be important. Neither are you, it would seem.

    Good luck.

    June 25, 2013 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  11. jon

    Has Judge Clarence Thomas "ever" did anything to support "minority issues?"

    June 25, 2013 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  12. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Screw the GOP and the supreme joke court, they will all be gone eventualy!!!!

    June 25, 2013 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  13. basedonfact

    If the law was obsolete then eliminating it wouldn't change anything. The fact that states are rushing to make changes to voting rules the very day the law was overturned is proof we needed it and still do.

    June 25, 2013 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  14. Debbie

    Yep show your papers in Mississippi and Texas. Next up poll tax and literacy test.

    June 25, 2013 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  15. don in albuquerque

    These five members of the SCOTUS are not deserving of my contempt, or spit, much less my respect. If I were them I think I would go into hiding for about the next five years. Fascism at it finest.

    June 25, 2013 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  16. roro

    Here we go. Texas, of course, is the first state to start the war on the vote now that SCOTUS has pretty much killed voting rights in this country. Not only should the law have been upheld, there are some states who should be added to the list. Look no further than the last election. This is a complete travesty. Roberts legacy is sealed as the person who took our nation back 50 years by killing voting rights for millions of citizens in this country. The 5 justices, and I say that ironically, should be completely ashamed of themselves. They are a total completely political and partisan disgrace. Leaving the matter of the formula up to Congress is a copout since we all know that Congress can't even come together to decide on where to go for lunch, much less get this done. Shame, shame, shame!

    June 25, 2013 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  17. Just a thought

    The GOP Tea Tards are looking for a future....None is forthcoming you idiots. Just wait until you tell people whose parents and grandparents died for these rights, they can't vote. Say goodbye

    June 25, 2013 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  18. julnor

    Honestly, it's always puzzled me why I didn't have to show ID to vote.

    June 25, 2013 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  19. William

    YaHoo, SCOTUS has declared that we can make voting for minorities next to impossible!

    June 25, 2013 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  20. Gorbashov - Long Beach, Ca.

    God help us from this partisan Supremely Political Court!

    June 25, 2013 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  21. S. B. Stein

    This will mean that more of the poor (read minorities which have a greater likelihood of being poor) will have a harder time voting. All of the requirements to show proof of citizenship cost money and time the poor don't have.

    June 25, 2013 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  22. just sayin

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

    claims based on what? their imagination? you need ids for just about everything now. they have plenty of time to get them before the next election so i suggest if they truly are interested in voting that they get an id. most places will give them for free. it's time to end this sham about keeping people from voting that the democrats lie about. it is really about keeping the ballot box open to every illegal in this country. any decline in voting will be all of the dead people and illegals that are now not able to vote.

    June 25, 2013 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  23. Billy Joe Perkins

    To say they don't have access to getting an I.D. made is absurd. The government see's that they have access to free phones, free housing, free food, everything. I'm sure they have to have some sort of Identification to get these entitlements. Will they have to have an ID to get health care? Yes. Medicaid? Yes. So why not to prove your who you say you are when taking part in the most important process we have as a democracy? To stand in the way of voter ID is to contaminate the voting process with those who shouldn't be voting.

    June 25, 2013 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  24. Klink

    Oppression, in it's purist form.

    June 25, 2013 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  25. anonoymous

    Alright people get your act together. As a minority I have a dri lic passport student id and a govt id badge. Too many people fought and died for my right to vote. Stop using excuses and beat this thing. Apply right now for state id. Get whatever forms necessary to do so. Come 2014 and 2016 we will show those who thought they could stop us were wrong!

    June 25, 2013 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
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