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Supreme Court Upholds Use of Strict Voter ID Law in Texas Polls

  • VOA News

A woman uses her mobile phone at the plaza of the U.S. Supreme Court, Washington, June 25, 2014.

A woman uses her mobile phone at the plaza of the U.S. Supreme Court, Washington, June 25, 2014.

The U.S. Supreme Court has allowed the state of Texas to enforce its strict new voter identification law in November polls, despite a lower court's ruling that it threatened to block many minorities from casting ballots.

The court ruling, released early Saturday, was unsigned and contained no reasoning.

The 2011 law forces voters to present photo identification before casting ballots. Texas officials, who say the legislation aims to prevent voter fraud, on Saturday voiced strong support for the court ruling.

However, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in a six-page dissent, said the ruling may block as many as 600,000 registered Texans from voting — a figure state officials have disputed.

Ginsburg said "a sharply disproportionate percentage" of blocked voters are African-American or Hispanic, and noted, in her words, that "racial discrimination in elections in Texas is no historical artifact."

Ginsburg also noted that many rural Texans seeking a required form of identification ahead of November polls face round-trip travel times of 3 hours or more to the nearest government facility issuing such documents. Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan also dissented.

The Supreme Court order is the fourth such ruling in recent weeks on states seeking to determine whether election law changes approved by Republican-controlled state legislatures can be applied to crucial mid-term elections.

Election law changes were upheld in the states of North Carolina and Ohio, while new rules in Wisconsin were blocked.

The High Court majorities in each case did not give reasoning for their decisions.

Some information for this report comes from AP.

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