Feds Block Texas's Voter ID Law: Unfair to Hispanics, They Say (UPDATED)

Vote031212.jpg
Your vote counts...if you have a photo ID.
Texas's strict new voter ID law, put in place by this past session's Tea Party legislature to stem the tidal wave of voter fraud that is actually not happening at all, has been blocked by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The new law unfairly targets Hispanic voters, the feds said.

"[T]he state has failed to demonstrate why it could not meet its stated goals of ensuring electoral integrity and deterring ineligible voters from voting in a manner that would have avoided this retrogressive effect," the DOJ said in a letter to Texas officials.

State Senator Rodney Ellis of Houston applauded the move. "I thank the Justice Department for standing up for voting rights," said Ellis. "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."

Governor Rick Perry and Attorney General Greg Abbott have already been critical of the federal government's failure to approve the law before the upcoming primary.

We'll add their reaction when we get it.

As of now, Texas voters will not be required to produce a photo ID before they are allowed to vote in either the primary or the general election.

Studies have varied widely on how many legitimate voters do not have a photo ID, with some saying a million or more such Texas voters might be disenfranchised.

Supporters say the law is needed to prevent voter fraud, but Ellis scoffed at the idea.

"There are more UFO and Bigfoot sightings than documented cases of voter impersonation," he said. "After years of testimony and debate, supporters of Texas's voter ID law still cannot prove their case that voter impersonation is even a minor problem in Texas. We, unfortunately, have plenty of evidence that it will disenfranchise legal student, elderly, African American and Hispanic voters. The Department of Justice saw that evidence and made the right decision."

Update: The Texas chapter of the ACLU weighs in:

We are pleased that the Justice Department recognized the discriminatory nature of the Texas Photo Voter ID Law. The data clearly shows that Hispanic voters are more likely to lack the necessary documentation to vote, and this law has been characterized as a return to Jim Crow. This unconstitutional measure would have deprived the poor, the handicapped, the elderly, and many people of color of their right to vote. But, because it was written to particularly target Hispanics, this Juan Crow version is particularly malicious. We applaud the Justice Department for stepping in to ensure that the democratic process and the right to vote for all eligible voters is protected in Texas.

And Rick Perry:

Texas has a responsibility to ensure elections are fair, beyond reproach and accurately reflect the will of voters. The DOJ has no valid reason for rejecting this important law, which requires nothing more extensive than the type of photo identification necessary to receive a library card or board an airplane. Their denial is yet another example of the Obama Administration's continuing and pervasive federal overreach


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23 comments
Kate Steele
Kate Steele

I think about the WWII veteran who wasn't allowed to vote because his VA id was deemed invalid by the pollworker as it didn't contain his address. He no longer had a driver's license because he's in his 80s. He was turned away at the polling place.

Then there's the 96-year-old woman who was denied voting id because she didn't have an original copy of her marriage certificate.

I'll have to hear different arguments than I have before I will ever believe it's a good thing to prevent people from voting.

http://thinkprogress.org/justi...

http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org...

Krista Albregts
Krista Albregts

You want to vote?  Spend hours waiting in line at the DPS like the rest of us.  If I have to have to strip down to a tank top, leggings, and bare feet to board and airplane, how less invasive is an ID check to ensure the integrity of our voting system?  As for discriminating against legal students (HAHA, really?), as recently licensed lawyer, in order to pursue your career (obtain a law license), you must be fingerprinted, submit to FBI background checks, and disclose your entire personal financial history...I highly doubt there is a single law student without a government issued ID.

Stevetrn
Stevetrn

I see no problem with haveing a photo ID to vote. On the other hand I do have a problem with DEAD people being left on the voters list. When my wife passed it took 5 years to get her off the regeistration list, the last 3 years with the help of a judge.

P.S. Maybe if the death certificate had a photo ID it may have been quicker !

Unclechisr
Unclechisr

just a left wing extremist justice dept doing there thing as usual....going against the will of the people OF THE UNITED STATES and hating there own country...

concepcion cazares
concepcion cazares

Personally it doesn't hold this hipanic back from anything.I hear the world's smallest violin playing somewhere again.

Preston
Preston

Easy, completely non-discriminatory solution: National picture ID for required all legal US residents. One that is not dependent on the ability to drive a car first.

Little known fact: the US (and Texas) currently has no mandatory picture ID. Requiring people to show picture ID is discriminatory towards those who, for whatever reason, choose not to have ID. While they might not be able to open a bank account or get into clubs, if they're citizens, they still have the right to vote. If we require them to carry a mandatory ID, suddenly everyone's please: voter identification is no longer discriminatory and we can still protect against voter fraud.

...well, then again, privacy advocates will probably have something to say about it...

Evan
Evan

Obviously, the pre-clearance requirements under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act can be met by writing vague personal anecdotes on a Internet comment section. 

Sherylll
Sherylll

I fail to see how this law is discriminatory. My mother did not drive, but she had an ID card. My daughter moved out of state, but Texas kept sending voter registration cards until I called. Anyone could have used her card. We should have to show some form of picture ID

titanhater2000
titanhater2000

It's real tough to have an ID.  How do these Hispanics cross back over the border to see their relatives?  

Tej_1970
Tej_1970

I don't buy it that people here legally don't have valid photo id.

lightoftruth3
lightoftruth3

Why should illegal aliens be allowed to vote in the U.S.? This is just the Obama administration trying to cheat by allowing people to vote (early and often), even if they are not U.S. citizens.

Jacob Reader
Jacob Reader

How is this discriminatory? You require a valid ID to do almost anything. You can open a bank account, buy a car, rent a house, or yknow drive a car. If you can be bothered to have a photo ID, you probably shouldn't be voting.

matx
matx

Except that driving is not a constitutional right.  And just a tip--if you don't want to strip down to a tank top, leggings and bare feet at the airport, wear socks and less revealing clothing because your clothing choices are definitely not mandated by the Constitution although they are protected by it.

Mike
Mike

Strange, what you call "the will of the people" I call "you taking tax funds out of my pocket and handing them to others because you want them to have free IDs".  See, I'm not to keen on YOU taking MY money because YOU think there should be an ID requirement.

It's simple kids:1) If an ID is required, it must be FREE, since there cannot be any requirements for voting2) If the ID is free, then it's paid for by tax funds3) I refuse to let my taxes pay for someone else's ID, so there cannot be any ID law.

Period.  It's that simple.  Unless those who vote for it fund it completely, it cannot exist. This is not a liberal thing, despite the whining I hear.  It's a conservative thing.  Those who want the ID are NOT conservatives.

MadMac
MadMac

Privacy advocates are the least of your concerns, you're talking about another agency/division the size of the US Post Office. You have to have an office in (at least) every zip code.

MadMac
MadMac

And pass a literacy test and pay a poll tax ('cause freedom ain't free) and be white males, right?

MadMac
MadMac

Um, lightoftruth3, yeah, voter fraud averages less than 2% each election cycle. Talk about an ~ahem~ solution in search of a problem, this is it. Since you want to bring specific administrations into this, I find it ironic that this bill was not proposed in Bush Vs. Gore, when Latino voters turned out in record numbers, in favor of Bush. Go figure.

Thenonymous
Thenonymous

You should retype that in ALL CAPS, so we can be made to understand how pervasive this imaginary threat is.

H_e_x
H_e_x

You forgot the most salient point:They took our jerbs!

MadMac
MadMac

Strange as this is gonna sound, banking, cars, rent, even driving are not fundamental RIGHTS defined by, oh, I don't know that silly Constitution thingy. More importantly, voting and equal protection is guaranteed by the 14TH and 15TH Amendments to the Constitution and, as Evan states, the Voting Rights Act.

As for the heart of your question, it is discriminatory as Texas passed this "law" and: 

a) began closing DPS offices in urban arears, limiting access for public transportation dependent citizens, (don't need an ID to ride the bus) b) established a cost for the ID, amounting to an undeclared poll tax c) while the fee must be waived on request of the applicant, neither the Gov/AG nor DPS put up signs/notices to that effect.

Go to the Austin American Statesman, (or Google for that matter) if you doubt me.

Evan
Evan

The rights to those things are not encoded by the Voting Rights Act. That is the difference. 

Stevetrn
Stevetrn

Freedom is not free. It's bought with welfare checks.

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