Voter ID Law on Trial in Texas OR Gun-Owners Yes and Students No!

Dear Commons Community,

The New York Times editorial today comments on the absurdity of Texas’ strict voter-ID law, passed in 2011 by the Republican-dominated Legislature, that accepts as proof of identity a concealed-weapon permit but not a student ID card. Below is the full text of the editorial.

“In April, a federal judge in Wisconsin invalidated that state’s voter-identification law, finding that it would disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of eligible voters in a phony attempt to prevent a problem — in-person voter fraud — that does not exist.

Last week, the spotlight turned to the federal court in Corpus Christi, where the Justice Department and several advocacy groups are fighting Texas’ absurdly strict voter-ID law. Passed in 2011 by the Republican-dominated Legislature, the law accepts as proof of identity a concealed-weapon permit but not a student ID card.

Laws like these used to be blocked by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which required that the federal government preapprove any voting rules enacted by states and localities with a history of discriminatory voting practices. But in a destructive ruling last year, the Supreme Court struck down Section 5 as unconstitutional.

Only hours after that ruling, Texas resurrected its voter-ID law, which had been stopped by Section 5.

Defenders of voting rights are now using a different part of the Voting Rights Act to challenge such laws, but it is a time-consuming and costly process.

In the Texas suit, testimony has shown that about 1.2 million eligible voters — including disproportionate numbers of lower-income, black and Latino voters, who tend to vote Democratic — lack a photo ID that would allow them to cast a ballot. Some never had the necessary underlying documents, such as a birth certificate; others cannot afford the time or money it takes to track them down.

The lawmakers who insist that this law is needed never bothered to come up with evidence of any voter fraud. One former election official testified that in-person fraud is “almost impossible to do.”

The first time women were allowed to vote in Texas, if my aunt was not mistaken, was in 1920.My grandmother worried that the men in her…

Vote suppression is a rear guard action by the GOP minority who knows they will be swamped eventually by changing demographics. It is at…

It’s outrageous to allow a weapon permit as ID but not a student ID card. Anyone who thinks that is logical has a serious mental problem……

Texas says it has made it easier to get a photo ID by providing for a free “Election Identification Certificate.” Apparently, Texans haven’t gotten the memo: as of Friday, fewer than 300 people statewide had managed to obtain a certificate.

Of course, voter-ID laws have never been about making voting easier. They are virtually always Republican-led efforts to keep groups of eligible voters who are more likely to vote Democratic from the polls.

The laws’ backers rely on a 2008 Supreme Court ruling upholding an Indiana voter-ID law, but at least two of the judges in that case have since admitted they were wrong. Richard Posner, a federal appeals court judge who approved the law, said last fall that voter-ID laws were “now widely regarded as a means of voter suppression rather than of fraud prevention.” And former Justice John Paul Stevens, who voted with the majority, said that in retrospect the dissent was “dead right.”

Rather than find a way to appeal to a wider swath of voters, Republican lawmakers rig the game with pointless obstacles to voting. The courts are finally catching on, but in the meantime, many of the nation’s most vulnerable citizens are shut out of the democratic process.”

Some legislatures have absolutely no shame in the way they go about denying people especially minorities the most fundamental right of a democracy – the right to vote.


Comments are closed.