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The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) applauded the Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) efforts to preserve and protect the voting rights of all Texans.   In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder coordinated by ADL, the League and six other Texas civil rights groups commended DOJ for seeking a “preclearance” requirement for Texas that would bar voting law changes in the state until a federal court found that they would not discriminate against minority voters.  Civil rights agencies signing on to the letter include:  Texas Civil Rights Project, Hindu American Foundation, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Equality Texas, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Until the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Shelby County v. Holder striking down key parts of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), Texas and other states with a history of discriminatory voting practices had to clear proposed changes in their voting laws with the federal government.  Hours after the Court’s decision, legislators in Texas moved to enact a racially discriminatory redistricting plan and a voter ID law that courts previously found would disenfranchise minority voters.  DOJ has taken action to block both of these laws and to require Texas to clear voting changes with the federal government once more, in accordance with Section 3 of the VRA.

“We are proud to say that we live in the most diverse metropolitan area in the country.  Part of honoring and celebrating that diversity means protecting the right to vote for all members of our community,” said Martin B. Cominsky, ADL Southwest Regional Director.  “Almost immediately after the Supreme Court’s decision striking down key parts of the Voting Rights Act, Texas put in place laws that threatened to disenfranchise minorities.  As Texans, we cannot and will not stand by quietly while our state enacts discriminatory voting laws.  We applaud DOJ’s efforts to block these laws, and we are committed to working to ensure that all eligible voters can vote,” he added.