In a decision announced late Friday, a federal judge smacked down a Republican attempt in Texas to discriminate against Black and Hispanic voters in the upcoming presidential election.
According to the Texas Tribune, “Less than three weeks before early voting begins in Texas, a U.S. district judge has blocked the state from eliminating straight-ticket voting as an option for people who go to the polls this November.”
As the report notes, “Democrats sued the state in March to overturn the Texas Legislature’s removal of straight-ticket voting.”
The judge found that the Republican law would “impose a discriminatory burden” on minority voters in Texas.
More from the Texas Tribune:
In a ruling issued late Friday, U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo cited the coronavirus pandemic, saying the elimination of the voting practice would “cause irreparable injury” to voters “by creating mass lines at the polls and increasing the amount of time voters are exposed to COVID-19.”
Marmolejo also found that the GOP-backed law would “impose a discriminatory burden” on black and Hispanic voters and “create comparatively less opportunities for these voters to participate in the political process.”
She acknowledged the burden the decision could put on local and state election officials, who will have to recalibrate voting machines or reprint ballots. But she reasoned that the potential harm for those suing, including the Texas Association for Retired Americans, was “outweighed by the inconveniences resulting.”
Republicans are panicking as Texas becomes a swing state
It’s no surprise that Republicans are working overtime to make voting harder for minorities in Texas. As polling shows, the Lone Star State is clearly a battleground this year.
According to RealClearPolitics, Trump only leads Biden in the state by a few percentage points. If recent history is any indication, though, Democrats could overperform polling in Texas.
In the 2018 Senate race between Beto O’Rourke and Ted Cruz, O’Rourke outperformed the polls by over four points. If Biden performs similarly in November, it could push him over the edge in a state Trump cannot afford to lose.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.