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Texas’ voter ID law is reinstated as November election nears

An election official in Austin, Texas, checks a voter's photo identification at a polling site in February.
(Eric Gay / Associated Press)

Texas’ voter identification law was back in force Tuesday in time for the November election as a federal appeals court lifted a lower court’s injunction.

A federal judge struck down the law last week on the grounds that it violated the constitutional right to vote and discriminated against racial minorities.

The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday stayed last week’s ruling, emphasizing “the importance of maintaining the status quo on the eve of an election.”

Early voting in Texas is set to begin Oct. 20, and election day is Nov. 4.

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The law tightens the rules for voting, requiring all registered voters to present photo identification to get regular ballots. It first took effect Jan. 1, 2012.

Civil rights lawyers in Texas have said that more than 600,000 registered voters there do not have the required identification.

The voter ID issue has divided state legislatures on partisan grounds, with Republicans solidly supporting the requirement and most Democrats opposing it.

The Texas attorney general’s office said Tuesday that it would “continue to defend the voter ID law and remains confident that the district court’s misguided ruling will be overturned on the merits.”

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The appeals court’s decision did not appear to indicate whether the panel was inclined to uphold or overturn last week’s ruling.

Staff writer David G. Savage contributed to this report.

For election news and more, follow @raablauren on Twitter.


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