New Voter ID Law in Effect for November Elections

This week, a three-judge panel of the federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered that the revised voter identification legislation passed during the 2017 legislative session, S.B. 5, will go into effect as planned on January 1, 2018.

Last month, a federal district judge ruled that S.B. 5 failed to address the discriminatory features of the initial voter ID legislation that passed in 2011 and invalidated the new law. The Fifth Circuit’s panel decision essentially reverses that ruling. 

What does this mean for upcoming city elections? For the November 2017 election, the agreed-upon interim order of the district court will remain in place. This agreement between the parties provides that voters without government-issued identification may still vote in an election if they sign a declaration stating that they have a reasonable impediment to the photo identification requirement and present proof of residence using a document such as a utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, etc.

S.B. 5, which contains some of the same provisions as the interim order, will presumably go into effect beginning January 1, 2018, and it will apply to subsequent elections. 

TML member cities may use the material herein for any purpose. No other person or entity may reproduce, duplicate, or distribute any part of this document without the written authorization of the Texas Municipal League. 

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