Federal Court relies on Barreto-Sanchez expert report in striking down Texas voter ID law

Matt Barreto and Gabe Sanchez authored an expert report in the Veasey v. Perry lawsuit challenging the Texas voter ID law, which was cited by a federal judge in striking down the law.  Barreto and Sanchez conducted a statewide survey of eligible voters in Texas and found that African Americans and Hispanics were statistically more likely to lack a valid ID than were Whites. According to expert testimony at trial, Barreto and Sanchez found that 4.7% of Whites lacked an ID, 8.4% of Blacks, and 11.4% of Latinos lacked an ID.

In her 147-page decision striking down the Texas ID law, Judge Nelva Gonzalez Ramos wrote that Barreto and Sanchez are “experts in survey research, particularly in the field of racial and ethnic politics,” who “conducted a four-week survey of over 2,300 eligible voters in Texas, and concluded that African-American eligible voters are 1.78 times more likely to lack qualified SB 14 ID than Anglo eligible voters. The observed racial disparity was magnified with Hispanic eligible voters as they are 2.42 times more likely to lack qualified SB 14 ID compared to Anglo eligible voters.” (pg 57)

Further, their survey found that a considerable number of minorities also lacked the underlying documents – such as an original birth certificate – and could not obtain a valid ID before the election, even if they tried.  Finally, the expert report submitted by Barreto and Sanchez found strong evidence that minority eligible voters who lack ID will face significant burdens in trying to obtain a free Election Identification Certficiate (EIC).  For example, 87% of Blacks and 79% of Latinos who lack an ID have never even heard of the state’s free EIC program.  Most offices in the state which issue the EIC are only open Monday – Friday, 8am – 5pm, and 40% of Blacks and 54% of Latinos say they would face problems in taking time off of work or school in getting to the state office.  The report by Barreto and Sanchez concludes, “When assessing the estimates of the number of people who will be impacted by the voter ID law in Texas, more than 180,000 Black and 555,000 Latino citizens in Texas, who are otherwise eligible to vote, will not have access to the ballot box because they do not possess an accepted photo ID as defined by current Texas law.”

In examining the evidence put forth by Barreto and Sanchez, the court wrote that the experts “are impressively credentialed and who explained their data, methodologies, and other facts upon which they relied in clear terms according to generally accepted and reliable scientific methods for their respective fields. The Court finds that approximately 608,470 registered voters in Texas lack proper SB 14 ID. The Court also finds that SB 14 disproportionately impacts both African-Americans and Hispanics in Texas.” (pg 59)

The State of Texas is currently appealing the decision to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.