Texas AG Paxton explains decision to appeal voter ID law

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton explained Thursday his decision to appeal a federal court’s ruling on a new voter identification bill.

“Our argument is simple, that this is a legitimate act of legislature. This is not discriminatory,” Paxton told Connell McShane on “Making Money” regarding the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to throw out Senate Bill 5 (SB 5). “

Texas passed a strict voter identification law in 2011—Senate Bill 14 (SB 14)—requiring people to show a photo ID in order to have their vote count. The state began enforcing the measure in 2013, but in July 2016 the court ruled the law was discriminatory.

The new bill was created following the court’s decision last year, and was signed by the state’s Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in June. The bill was a “softer” version of SB 14, in that it allowed voters to cast their vote if they signed an affidavit and presented an alternate form of ID, such as a certified birth certificate or bank statement.

“Even if such a turning back of the clock were possible, the provisions of SB 5 fall far short of mitigating the discriminatory provisions of SB 14,” Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos said in her ruling Wednesday.

Paxton, who said the ruling was “outrageous,” described the objective of SB 5 as a way to eliminate voter fraud.

“In all types of situations and transactions, photo ID is the way to prevent fraud,” he said. “We do it in financial transactions, we do it when you’re trying to go to the airport, we do it all over the country. No one is surprised that voter ID is required anywhere else, but in one of the most precious things that we have – which is the right to vote – suddenly that’s a problem. It never made sense to me and I don’t really think that’s accurate.”