A federal appeals court on Tuesday temporarily reinstated Texas' tough voter ID law, which the U.S. Justice Department had condemned as the state's latest means of suppressing minority voter turnout.
The ruling by a three-judge panel of the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals allows the law to be used in the November election, despite a lower judge's ruling that the law is unconstitutional. The 5th Circuit did not rule on the law's merits; instead, it determined it's too late to change the rules for the election.
The judge said the Supreme Court has repeatedly told courts to be cautious about late-hour interruptions of elections. Early voting starts Oct. 20.
"It will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the state to adequately train its 25,000 polling workers at 8,000 polling places" in time for the start of early voting, the appeals court wrote.
While some voters may be harmed, the greater harm would come in potentially disrupting an election statewide, the court said.