In seemingly contradictory voting rights actions just weeks before November’s elections, the Supreme Court allowed new restrictions to remain in force in North Carolina and Ohio while blocking Wisconsin’s voter ID law. In Texas, a federal district judge struck down the state’s voter ID law, writing that it functioned as an “unconstitutional poll tax”. Judge Ramos found that Texas has an “controverted and shameful history” of discriminating at the polls, designed to reduce minority voters. In her 143 page opinion, Judge Ramos also noted that there have been two convictions for voter fraud in Texas in the last ten years, while 20 million valid votes were cast during that same time.
It has been repeatedly noted that the only (apparent) consistency in the way the Supreme Court has recently ruled on voter ID laws is to determine the disruptive nature of changing the voting rules relative to when voting begins in each state. However, it remains to be seen when and how the Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of the voter ID laws. Texas, which is viewed as the most restrictive in the country, could be the next test. Texas’ republican attorney general promised to appeal Judge Ramos’ ruling.