Tag Archives: Voter ID

Trump Drops Texas Voters in the Grease

Coming down on the side of making it harder to vote in the face of absolutely no evidence of in-person voter fraud, the Trump Administration decided that Texas’ Voter ID law is A-Okay.  The Texas Tribune reports:

The U.S. Department of Justice confirmed Monday it plans to ditch its longstanding position that Texas lawmakers purposefully discriminated against minority voters by passing the nation’s strictest voter identification law in 2011.

The move comes one day before a federal judge is scheduled to hear arguments on that high-stakes voting rights question, and it highlights yet another instance in which President Donald Trump has dramatically departed from the path of his predecessor.

Former President Obama’s Justice Department originally teamed up with civil rights groups against Texas throughout the long-winding legal battle over the ID law, known as Senate Bill 14. But on Monday, lawyers for U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions told parties that they were dropping a claim that Texas lawmakers intentionally discriminated against Latino and African-American voters.

Texas Loosens Voter ID Requirement

Texas agreed Wednesday to significantly weaken its voter ID law, which federal courts have said discriminated against minorities and the poor and left more than 600,000 registered voters potentially unable to cast a ballot.

Faced with a direct rebuke from the Fifth Circuit and a complete lack of evidence of in-person voter fraud, Texas has loosened its voter ID requirements for the November election.  Voters without one of the absurd list of seven forms of suitable ID — which includes  concealed handgun permits, but not college IDs —  can now sign an affidavit and vote.  And that vote will be counted.  This provision essentially guts the law.  This is a remarkable failure of the Texas GOP’s attempt to suppress voter turnout – an effort that likely failed anyway.

The state also agreed to $2.5 million on voter outreach before November pursuant to the settlement submitted to U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos, who must still approve the changes.

Red can already hear the outcry from Our Poor Idiot Governor Greg Abbott about how this will allow massive voter fraud at the polls despite the utter lack of any such evidence.  Republicans can take their cue from nominee Donald Trump who is already claiming that  the presidential election will be “rigged” against him. No sir, it is your party who has repeatedly attempted to “rig” elections by enacting numerous state laws designed to suppress voter turnout.

Texas Voter ID Law Ripped Apart

Texas has the strictest Voter ID law in the U.S. despite there being no evidence of voter fraud to prevent.  As Red has said repeatedly, anyone who knows anything about elections knows that the mail-in ballots are the most likely place for voter hanky-panky and the Voter ID law does nothing about that problem.  The law is clearly designed by a Tea Party dominated Legislature to do nothing other than keep as many poor folks and minorities as possible from voting.  It is about the most shameless act of political pandering that Red has ever witnessed and it seems like to fail once the Fifth Circuit rules in Veasey v. Abbot.   But don’t take it from Red.  In a recent article, The Economist destroys the basis for the law and takes down criminally indicted Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for his pathetic defense of the basis for the law as well.   

From 2000 to 2015, according to the New York Times, the 2011 voter-ID law could have prevented “no more than three or four infractions” qualifying as voter fraud. Yet Mr Paxton insists the rules are necessary to “safeguard the integrity of our elections process” and are “essential to preserving our democracy”. Judges have found quite the opposite. When the law was first challenged in federal district court in the weeks before the 2014 election, Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos struck it down as a violation of the 1st, 14th, 15th and 24th amendments. In her 147-page opinion, Judge Ramos noted “a clear and disturbing pattern of discrimination in the name of combating voter fraud in Texas”. Blacks and Latinos, she noted, are much more likely to lack the required identification and thus would be disproportionately roped out of the voting booth. The Texas law, she concluded, “not only had the effect of discriminating against minorities, but was designed to do so” and constituted a “poll tax”.

Entire 5th Circuit to Decide Fate of Texas Voter ID Law

The Texan Republican Party’s Voter ID law passed by the Legislature still has some life.  A U.S. District Court in Corpus Christi ruled that the law (known as Senate Bill 14) was in violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and that decisions was upheld by a 3 judge panel of the Fifth Circuit.  Now the entire Court has decided to hear the case – which is likely an ominous sign for the voters of Texas.  The notoriously conservative court of appeals is likely to uphold the discriminatory law whose only purpose is to suppress voter turnout for poor, elderly and non-white citizens.

At trial, the burden was on the law’s opponents to show discriminatory impact and the plaintiffs succeeded.  Unfortunately, the State does not have the burden to establish a rationale basis for the law.  Unfortunate, because it would be impossible to do so.  There is no in person voter fraud in Texas that has ever affected the outcome on an election – at least not on the part of the voters.  Texas has been unable to point to more than one or two reported instances of in person voter fraud.  Everyone who knows anything about elections knows that all the potential electoral hanky-panky occurs with the mail in ballots.  And the Voter ID law does nothing to prevent that.  This has always been about Republicans attempting to suppress the vote and nothing more.  Shame on the GOP for promoting this farce.

Fifth Circuit Rules Texas Voter ID Law Violates Voting Rights Act

The Dallas Morning News reports that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has ruled that Texas’ voter ID act violates section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.  The ruling, however, is narrow and neither a complete win nor loss for either side.  Red would support such a law if there was one iota of evidence that in-person voter fraud is a real problem.  Everyone who knows anything about elections in Texas knows the real hanky-panky occurs with the mail-in ballots and the current law does absolutely nothing  to prevent massive abuse in that regard.

The hard part of the ruling to swallow is the Fifth Circuit’s finding that the intent of the law was not to discriminate against minority voters.  Red understands that is tough fish to land, but come on . . . really?  Even in Texas, the GOP is scared because the angry old white men that are dying off are being replaced by young brown ones.  Gerrymandering will work for a while, but demographic destiny takes over at some point, and with the legacy that Patrick and Abbott are leaving, recruiting Hispanics and Blacks to the Grand Ol’ Party is going to be a tough sell. If they can cut minority voting by even a percent or two, then they might just hang on for a couple of more election cycles past their expiration date.

In an unanimous decision, a three-judge panel ruled that the controversial and Republican-backed measure violated Section 2 of the landmark civil rights law. The law has been part of a complicated legal battle for years.

But the victory was narrow win for opponents of the law. The judges also rejected a previous judge’s ruling that the law was passed with the intent to discriminate. The Fifth Circuit sent that portion of the lawsuit back to a U.S. district court.

The court wrote that, if the lower court finds in its review of the case that the voter ID Law only violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, it should find a solution that can still reduce the risk of in-person voter fraud and satisfy the legislative intent of the voter ID law.

“Simply reverting to the system in place before SB 14’s passage would not fully respect these policy choices — it would allow voters to cast ballots after presenting less secure forms of identification like utility bills, bank statements, or paychecks,” the court wrote in a 49-page opinion.

Texas could appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, or the state also could ask the full 5th Circuit to review the case. But now, a fight over what exactly the complicated ruling means is more imminent.