Sides debate how many voters
have ID in Texas lawsuit

Dueling testimony over documents required to obtain a Texas voter ID card marked Day 3 in the dispute that is being heard by a three-judge panel in U.S. District Court, Washington, D.C.

Victoria Rodriguez, 18, testified Tuesday that she and her twin sister, Nicole, did not have proper ID to vote under the new Texas law and they didn’t have the documents to obtain a free election identification certificate. Lawyers for Texas challenged that testimony today on cross-examination and challenged the list of documents that the Justice Department claimed Rodriguez would need.

Texas is challenging the U.S. Department of Justice authority under the 1965 Voting Rights Act to approve changes in the state’s voting laws.

Under Texas law, voters can choose from a broad list of ID documents to obtain the free voter ID card, according to the Department of Public Safety. Lawyers for Texas argued that Rodriguez could obtain ID with her birth certificate, voter registration card and Social Security card — all of which Rodriguez said she has.
Daron Shaw, a professor of government at the University of Texas, took the stand next as an expert witness for the state. He has conducted surveys on ID possession rates by Texas voters.

Shaw’s survey found that, of the 1.9 million voters who the Justice Department said might not have an ID, 91 percent of whites had proper ID, compared to 92 of blacks and 93 percent of Hispanics.

Justice Department lawyers pointed out two flaws in Shaw’s survey. Because it was conducted by a landline phone interview, Shaw’s results skewed to older white respondents. Cell phones are more commonly used by younger people as well minorities, Justice Department lawyers argued.

They also pointed out that it is easier to collect phone numbers for white respondents than black respondents.

Shaw concurred.

Lindsey Ruta and Annelise Russell, News21

Ed. Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly spelled Daron Shaw’s first name as Darren.