U.S. Supreme Court Tosses Texas Election Cases

In the wake of its decision to strike a section of the Voting Rights Act earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday tossed out two Texas cases on voter ID and redistricting.

The two cases — one involving the voter ID law passed by the Legislature in 2011 and the other involving redistricting maps approved that same year — were sent back to lower courts.

The decision was expected after the court ruled this week that Section 4 of the Voting Rights is unconstitutional. That section described the states and other jurisdictions subject to preclearance, meaning they had to have federal approval before making changes in their election laws. Texas is one of the states affected and both cases involved issues where the state sought preclearance, didn’t get it, and asked the Supreme Court to allow it to proceed.

With preclearance no longer required, the cases were sent back to the lower courts for review.

That means the voter ID law can take effect now, according to the Texas attorney general’s office. In a statement on the court’s action, the state’s lawyers said the redistricting maps approved by the Legislature during its recent special session can also take effect.

Redistricting is still at issue in another federal court; a three-judge panel in San Antonio now has to decide what should happen next, in light of both the Supreme Court ruling and the Legislature’s new maps.

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