The Obama administration blocked Texas’s new law requiring voters to show government-issued photo identification at the polls, escalating a partisan dispute over voting restrictions.
The U.S. Justice Department is using its power under the Voting Rights Act to halt the Texas law, saying in a letter to the state today that the measure may disproportionately harm Hispanics. The department in December blocked a similar law in South Carolina.
Voter identification laws were passed last year in eight states. Whether the requirements are inconveniences or barriers to voting is at the core of a debate between Republican supporters who say the laws will protect election integrity, and Democrats who oppose the statutes as attempts to disenfranchise minorities and the poor.