Federal judge again tosses out Texas voter ID law

FILE - In this Feb. 26, 2014 file photo, an election official checks a voter's photo identification at an early voting polling site in Austin, Texas. A federal judge Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017, again threw out Texas’ voter ID requirements that she previously compared to a “poll tax” on minorities, dealing another court setback to state Republican leaders over voting rights. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A federal judge who has compared Texas' voter ID requirements to a "poll tax" on minorities once again blocked the law Wednesday, rejecting a weakened version backed by the Trump administration and dealing Texas Republicans another court defeat over voting rights.

U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos rejected changes signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott this summer as not only lacking but also potentially chilling to voters because of new criminal penalties. The new version didn't expand the list of acceptable photo identifications - meaning gun licenses remained sufficient proof to vote, but not college student IDs.

Instead, the changes would allow people who lack a required ID to cast a ballot if they signed an affidavit and brought paperwork that showed their name and address, such as a bank statement or utility bill.