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Federal court rules against Texas voter photo ID law

Greg Abbott, Texas's attorney general, said he will appeal the ruling to the US Supreme Court, confident of prevailing there.

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A voter waits for the polls to open as Democratic election judge Neil Emmons, right, sets up at Reverchon Park Recreation Center in the run-off election July 31 in Dallas, Texas.

Ron Baselice, The Dallas Morning News/AP

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A federal court on Thursday rejected a Texas law that would require voters to present photo IDs to election officials before being allowed to cast ballots in November.

A three-judge panel in Washington unanimously ruled that the law imposes "strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor" and noted that racial minorities in Texas are more likely to live in poverty.

The decision involves an increasingly contentious political issue: a push, largely by Republican-controlled legislatures and governors' offices, to impose strict identification requirements on voters. Texas' voter ID rules, approved in 2011, had been widely cheered by conservatives statewide.

Republicans around the country are aggressively seeking similar requirements in the name of stamping out voter fraud. Democrats, with support from a number of studies, say fraud at the polls is largely non-existent and that Republicans are simply trying to disenfranchise minorities, poor people and college students — all groups that tend to back Democrats.

Thursday's ruling almost certainly prevents the Texas law from going into effect for the November election, but state Attorney General Greg Abbott said he will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court "where we are confident we will prevail."

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