By Hans von Spakovsky

It looks as if Texas, the Justice Department, and all of the other parties, including the NAACP, involved in the challenge to the state’s voter ID law have worked out an interim settlement–and the district court judge approved the deal on Aug. 10 after a telephonic hearing Wednesday morning. That deal is probably about the best deal Texas could expect to get given the circumstances and personalities in the case.

In Veasey v. Abbott, Texas (and the cause of election integrity) suffered a blow three weeks ago when the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that the voter ID law violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act because it supposedly had a discriminatory effect, despite the fact that there was no evidence that the ID law had diminished turnout in Texas elections.

In fact, as the dissent pointed out in the appeals court, “despite extraordinary efforts,” neither the Justice Department nor any of the other so-called civil rights organizations who sued were able to uncover any Texas voters who were unable to vote because of the law.

The 5th Circuit sent the case back down to the district court to fashion a remedy for the small number of Texans who the court claimed could not obtain the free ID that the state issues to anyone who doesn’t already have one. It also told the district court to “re-examine” the evidence on whether the Texas Legislature had intentionally discriminated when it passed this law.

The district court judge, Nelva Gonzales Ramos, a 2011 President Barack Obama appointee, had found Texas guilty of purposeful discrimination even though, as the dissent noted in the appeals court, “the multi-thousand page record yields not a trace, much less a legitimate inference, of racial bias by the Texas Legislature.”

Ramos even made the bizarre claim that the voter ID law was a prohibited poll tax, despite the state providing free IDs to its residents. Fortunately, that wacky ruling was thrown out by the 5th Circuit.

However, on Aug. 3, the parties in the case filed a “Joint Submission of Agreed Terms” with Ramos. In it, the parties have agreed that Texas voters who don’t have one of the acceptable photo IDs under the statute will still be able to vote if they: present a valid voter registration certificate, a certified birth certificate, a current utility bill, a bank statement, a government check, a paycheck, or any other government document that displays the voter’s name and an address and complete and sign a reasonable impediment declaration.

The “reasonable impediment declaration” is a reference to the type of form that is used in South Carolina, which also has a voter ID law. If a voter shows up at a polling place without an ID, he or she is able to vote upon completion of a form in which the voter declares that there was a “reasonable impediment” that prevented him from getting an ID.

Read more of ACRU Policy Board member Hans von Spakovsky’s Daily Signal article.