Austin, TX – State Representative Poncho Nevárez pre-filed 3 bills, HB534, HB535, and HB536
regarding the Texas voter ID law enacted in 2011, which was ruled unconstitutional by a Federal
District Court Judge in early October. Judge Nelva Gonzalez Ramos struck down the voter ID
law expressing that it “creates an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote” and results in “an
impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African Americans” while also
constituting a “poll tax.”
Although the U.S. Supreme Court permitted the Texas voter ID law to be enforced in the past
elections in November, pending its appeal, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice Sonia
Sotomayor, and Justice Elena Kagan dissented explaining that more than 600,000 registered
Texas voters may be prevented from voting due to lack of the proper identification. Justice
Ginsburg also reflected on the evidence provided that demonstrated that many voters would have
to travel long distances to obtain the proper identification as well as incur fees to pay for such,
thus creating a poll tax.
While proponents of the voter ID law have claimed the purpose of the law is to combat voter
fraud, there have only been two convictions of in-person voter impersonation fraud in the 10
years prior to enactment of the voter ID law, as expressed in the court’s findings. In addition to
in-person voter impersonation fraud being rare, Texas has one of the strictest voter ID laws in the
nation. The Texas voter ID law only allows for 7 acceptable forms of identification.
Nevárez has sought a middle ground with supporters of the law by filing bills that relate to the
acceptable forms of photo identification. The three proposed forms are: 1) HB534: an
identification card issued by an agency or institution of the federal government or of this state
that contains the person's photograph; 2) HB535: a photo Tribal ID from any sovereign
indigenous nation in Texas; and 3) HB536: allowing the elderly (age 65 or older) to use an
expired form of photo identification. There are numerous states in the nation that support and
accept the IDs mentioned above.
780 E. Rio Grande St.