The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed previous rulings that the 2011 voter ID law — which stipulates the types of photo identification election officials can and cannot accept at the polls — does not comply with the Voting Rights Act.The full court’s ruling delivered the strongest blow yet to what is widely viewed as the nation’s strictest voter ID law. Under the law, most citizens (some, like people with disabilities, can be exempt) must show one of a handful of types of identification before their ballots can be counted: a state driver’s license or ID card, a concealed handgun license, a U.S. passport, a military ID card, or a U.S citizenship certificate with a photo.
Similar rulings followed in Wisconsin, Ohio and South Dakota. And in Kansas, a state with a foreign-born population of 6.8 percent, courts have repeatedly rejected efforts by the Republican secretary of state to require voters to provide proof of citizenship to vote.When they were first proposed, voter ID laws sounded reasonable to lots of people, including the Supreme Court. The Justices upheld an Indiana voter ID law in 2008. But even the judges who wrote key opinions upholding the law in that case have since expressed concerns about how voter ID laws work out in practice. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens and Judge Richard Posner have noted that the Indiana case came to them as a blanket challenge to the law, without an evidentiary trial. Both have since suggested that the proof offered subsequently in other states shows these laws are aimed at suppressing the minority vote.