Texas Voter ID
12:47 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Voter ID Trial Remains On Track Despite Federal Attempt To Postpone

Plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Texas voter ID law applauded a Corpus Christi federal judge’s vigilance to retain a September trial date -- the U.S. Department of Justice is now hoping to postpone the case because of logistics issues.

This week, Federal District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos in Corpus Christi wanted to know if everyone was still on track for the Sept. 2 trial. Attorneys with the DOJ asked again to have the trial postponed until January 2015 because they say the state of Texas has not begun to exchange information needed for the case.

Jose Garza, an attorney with the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, said Gonzales-Ramos is sticking to the pre-general election trial date.

"Some of the arguments that were made -- for instance opposing moving the date -- is that other trials have gone forward in a more truncated time period," Garza said.

Something similar happened in the lawsuit challenging redistricting in 2011. 

As far as what that data shows regarding the disenfranchisement of voters, Garza said the attorney general’s office doesn’t seem to care.

"Their position is now they don’t really care what the data shows," Garza said. "The state is now free to enact Senate Bill 14 regardless of what that data shows, that there’s nothing in the Voting Rights Act that can prevent that and that there’s nothing in the constitution that can prevent that."

State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, is the chairman of the Mexican-American Legislative Caucus and a plaintiff in the voter ID lawsuit.

"We’ve dealt with constant issues with the state when it came to exchanging information, receiving experts reports on time, receiving data on time and giving our experts the opportunity to promptly evaluate that data," Martinez Fischer said. "So for purposes of today’s hearing that was one of the centerpieces of discussion."

There are three more hearings scheduled before the Sept. 2 trial, at which the judge is expected to order the release of this data including electronic and telecommunications between Texas lawmakers during the development of the Texas voter ID law in 2011.