Rejoice! Feds reject voter ID

Señalización de lugar de votación en Californi...

Image via WikipediaWhen it was introduced, we all thought Texas Republican's Voter ID law was a classic case of voter suppression and of GOP over-reach.

This morning, the  U.S. Department of Justice agreed and rejected it by refusing to “preclear” the law.

The law would have required a voter to present a valid government-issued identification card. The law requires a Texas driver’s license or Department of Public Safety identification card. The law allowed concealed handgun licenses to be used instead of a driver’s license but not student ID cards from Texas colleges and universities.

Nearly 20 percent of all Texans — and up to 40 percent of minorities in certain areas — lack the necessary documents, never mind that fact that budget cuts have caused the closure of scores of rural DPS offices and the curtailment of hours in others.

Because of its history of voter suppression, Texas is one of several states that must get preclearance before enacting any legislation that would affect voter rights. In fact, this law — along with similar laws passed by other Southern states this year — is a pretty stark reminder that each and every one of the provisions in the Voting Rights Act are still necessary.

The Justice Department wrote: “Because we conclude that the state has failed to meet its burden of demonstrating that the proposed law will not have a retrogressive effect, we do not make any determination as to whether the state has established that the proposed changes were adopted with no discriminatory purpose.”

Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, said, “Throughout the preclearance process, Texas consistently failed to produce information showing the law would not have a discriminatory impact on minority voters. The Voting Rights Act exists for this exact purpose: protecting the ability of all Americans to access the ballot box.”

This isn’t necessarily over. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott will likely fight the decision and it could end up at the Supreme Court.


About Richard Stone

... is a husband, a father, a writer, a journalist, an activist, an avid reader of trash science fiction and an occasional folk/bluegrass guitar player. He loves to travel, UT sports, community theater and sharing a good bottle of wine with good friends.
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4 Responses to Rejoice! Feds reject voter ID

  1. Nativegrl77 says:

    … great post about Feds reject voter ID law.

    … and please sign the Petition to stop Voter Suppression!

  2. Just a note: I noted that nearly 20 percent of all Texans lack ID that would meet the challenge of the Voter ID law. Those Texans are otherwise eligible to vote, they aren’t illegals or non-Texans or anything … just legal citizens who, for whatever reason, have not found it necessary to hold a state-issued identification card.

  3. John Summers says:

    If you are not smart enough get an I.D. card or you cannot obtain one legally, you probably should not be able to vote.

    • John,

      There was a time that I sorta agreed with you but for two things. First, the argument that many make — that it’s no different than cashing a check — doesn’t work. Every single one of the activities mentioned like this are privileges, not rights. There is nothing inscribed in the Constitution that mentions cashing checks or checking books from the library or renting a backhoe or whatever … but there are several mentions about voting and citizenship and the like. Further, the Constitution extends its protections to everyone, regardless of the quality of their identification. Freedom of religion? Freedom of expression? No ID needed. Further, the trend in this country has been to make voting easier, not harder.

      And, do you really want our country to be one that requires you to keep a set of official paperwork with you in order to enjoy your civil liberties? Or is it okay, as long as it’s the brown ones who need to keep that ID handy?

      Secondly, I had to help my son after he lost his DL and Social last year. He lives in Fort Worth and, at the time, was dependent on public transportation. Fortunately, he works in the entertainment industry and works nights, so he didn’t have to take a day off work because he couldn’t have afforded that … and that’s how long it took. No shit. A full day. It’s also fortunate that I could afford to lose a day’s wages and take a day off work because, had I not been available to cart him around, it would have taken the better part of two days. No shit. Two days to get a DL and Social.

      Frankly, I really don’t know how someone who works 9-5, Mon-Fri (and can’t afford to take a weekday off work) can get a new DL. Or “official” state ID card. If you’re elderly, a student, someone who is “working poor” … you are just SOL, and there’s something wrong about that.

      If you live in rural Texas, it’s even worse. There are no DL offices open over the weekend — any where — and budget cuts have closed many offices and curtailed the hours in many others. I think it’s 84 rural counties in Texas that do not even have a DL office.

      In Milam County, our DL office is only open 3 days a week. There is only one clerk. Several hours each day are devoted to driver testing so … only about two-thirds of the time the office is open is devoted to new ID. Often, the line stretches out the door and around the building. But, at least we have a DL office.

      I think would be less opposed to this idea if it more than a solution looking for a problem. There is no “vote fraud” that this bill would prevent. The only cases of vote fraud that our attorney general has been able to find and successfully prosecute (and only a bare handful at that!) involved mail-in ballots and, guess what? Even the new Voter ID law doesn’t require a “proper” ID to vote by mail!

      Vote fraud today looks more like what happened in Florida in 2000 or in Duval County in the 1940s and 50s …

      No, this bill (and others like it) are designed to suppress the votes of minorities, the working poor, students, the elderly and rural Texans, people who tend to vote Democratic. If you honestly believe there is massive vote fraud perpetrated by illegals, you’ve taken a big swig of the Tea Party’s Koolaid.

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