CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A Justice Department lawyer has told a federal judge that a tough new Texas voter ID law was motivated by racial discrimination and should be struck down.
Opening statements began Tuesday in a trial over the measure Republican Gov. Rick Perry signed into law in 2011. Opponents call it the most stringent voter ID measure of any adopted by conservative states in recent years.
Experts estimate that nearly 800,000 registered voters in Texas lack an acceptable form of ID under the law. Justice Department attorney Elizabeth Westfall says blacks and Hispanics make up a disproportionate number of those voters.
Texas is the first major test for U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder since the Supreme Court last year struck down a key part of the federal Voting Rights Act.