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Ari Berman: You Can Vote with a Handgun Permit but Not a Student ID

The Justice Department and the Texas Legislature are squaring off in court today over the state's controversial voter ID law. The law requires voters to show photo identification at the polls, and Texas hopes to implement it before the November election. The DOJ blocked Texas' voter ID law in March, saying it will disenfranchise at least 600,000 voters -- a disproportionate number of which are Latinos and other minority groups.

Currently, 16 states have passed restrictive voting laws that have the potential to impact the 2012 election, including vital swing states such as Florida and Pennsylvania. We speak with Robert Notzon, the Legal Redress Chair for the Texas State Conference of the NAACP and co-counsel in a lawsuit challenging Texas' voter ID law; and Ari Berman, who covers voting rights for The Nation and Rolling Stone magazines.

"Not only is Texas such a large state but it has probably the strictest voter ID law on the books right now," Berman says. "You can vote with a handgun permit but not a student ID. Hispanics are anywhere from 46% to 120% more likely to not have an ID than white voters. In some ways it really is 'As goes Texas, so goes the nation' in terms of demographic change and the Republican response."

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