Federal Court Unanimously Strikes Down Texas' Voter ID Law, Calls it Discriminatory

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For the second time in three days, a federal court has called a Texas voting measure as discriminatory. Earlier today, a three-judge panel in D.C. issued an opinion striking down the state's voter ID law, passed by the legislature last year.

The law would require voters to present a valid photo ID at the polls (concealed handgun permits are okay, student IDs aren't). Simple, but not quite simple enough. The court found, unanimously, that Texas' law would disproportionately affect minorities in violation of the Voting Rights Act, writing that "everything that Texas has submitted as affirmative evidence is unpersuasive, invalid or both."

"[U]ncontested record evidence," the court continues, "conclusively shows that the implicit costs of obtaining an SB-14 qualifying ID will fall most heavily on the poor and that a disproportionately high percentage of African-Americans and Hispanics in Texas live in poverty."

Reaction from both sides was swift. The ACLU and other left-leaning groups issued statements hailing the court's decision.

"This case demonstrates precisely why we still need Section 5 in 2012," said Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas. "Without the process of federal review it mandates, democracy would have failed the largely minority population who cannot afford to purchase the underlying documents, travel long distances - up to 100 miles in some cases - or take off work to get to the closest government office that issues photo identification."

Attorney General Greg Abbott, of course, disagrees.

"The Supreme Court of the United States has already upheld Voter ID laws as a constitutional method of ensuring integrity at the ballot box," he wrote in a prepared statement. "Today's decision is wrong on the law and improperly prevents Texas from implementing the same type of ballot integrity safeguards that are employed by Georgia and Indiana - and were upheld by the Supreme Court. The State will appeal this decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, where we are confident we will prevail."

Update at 2:00 p.m.: Rick Perry just issued a statement on the ruling:

"Federal judges subverted the will of the people of Texas and undermined our effort to ensure fair and accurate elections. The Obama Administration's claim that it's a burden to present a photo ID to vote simply defies common sense."


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61 comments
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

It's crystal clear what the republicans are up to.  They're trying to suppress the Democratic vote.  The Courts get it, and are striking down republican voter suppression laws.  

jeneheffer
jeneheffer

Voter fraud? Yes there have has been fraud in voting.  At least 54 ACORN employees and individuals associated with ACORN have been convicted of voter fraud. Voter fraud refers to fraudulent voting, identity fraud, perjury, voter registration fraud, forgery, and a variety of crimes related to the electoral process. ACORN itself was convicted of the crime of “compensation” in Nevada for its role in a conspiracy that gave voter registration canvassers cash for exceeding daily quotas. Not sure if our President is still associated with them still.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Republican congressman Mike Turzai of Pennsylvania bragged that restrictive voter ID laws would help Mitt Romney win the state.

 

Yes, we get it.

rufuslevin
rufuslevin

time to hold massive exit polls during next election to ask how many voters would already be able to produce a picture ID of any kind ....these are the ACTUAL voter population....not some phoney statistics of folks that MIGHT not be able to vote....even though they NEVER vote anyway.  How about a tax on any citizens that DOES NOT VOTE then.

MikeMikeMike
MikeMikeMike

You have not figured out this law's real purpose to get a perfect case before the Supreme Court to gut the Voting Rights Act. We will have two laws, one recently approved by these justices for a non-Voting Rights Act state and one exactly the same struck down by a lower court because VRA. Voila another 5-4 decision stating Fed Courts cannot have different standards in different states. The real issue is not about some stupid ID laws that nobody can really know one way or the other what is the impact. The real issue is this anachronism left over from the 60's with General Holder delivering it with a bow to the Supremes.

Americano
Americano

I have to get a background check to go eat lunch with my kid at his school.  I have to prove who I am to fly, drive, drink, enlist in the military, get electrical service, cable, buy a car and check into a hotel.  Yes the constitution doesn't require ID.  Yes, it leaves those laws up to the States.  It does say only Citizens can vote, so how do we know who is a Citizen?  During my misspent youth, I lost my driving privileges for a couple of years, but I always had an ID.  Any Citizen can get one.  I saw people of all races and economic situations getting them.  Trust me, if you made people get an ID to collect Welfare (not sure, do we require that?), they would jump through any hoop to get one.  Makes one wonder, why are the Dems so insistent on allowing non-Citizens to vote?

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk

Time for Dems to start to consider better ways of handling this issue. Like most hot-button / wedge issues, this rolls around every couple years like that petrified Grandy's biscuit under the front seat of your Camry: It's there and it's not going away.

 

Rather than fan the flames of indignant progressives, activists should be scouring areas of southern Dallas and other areas where they think that there are populations of underrepresented potential voters, raising awareness and actively help those people to obtain valid I.D. so that NOBODY could challenge their constitutional right to vote.

 

It bothers me a bit that we may make folks jump through these hoops to cast a vote, but it would be eminently satisfying to take that red-meat away from conservatives.

Cecil
Cecil

"The court found, unanimously, that Texas' law would disproportionately affect minorities in violation of the Voting Rights Act, writing that "everything that Texas has submitted as affirmative evidence is unpersuasive, invalid or both."

 

In my opinion, the City of Dallas has a way of doing exactly the same. Its called south Dallas, you know, the concentration camp for minorities. 

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Republicans in Pennsylvania admitted they couldn't find any evidence of voting fraud, then went on to admit their voter ID push was a scheme to deliver the state to Romney-Ryan.

yodownmuthalicka
yodownmuthalicka

If anyone can point out in the US Constitution where it reads that an ID is needed to exercise a citizen's Constitutionally protected rights, please advise.

ResistanceIsOhm
ResistanceIsOhm

dear rick perry,

 

please stop wasting our tax dollars fighting the court system over rules that they are clearly not going to approve, while you cut the budget for our under funded schools. Texas has the worst school system in the country. Let's focus on that for a while, k? thx.

 

thank you,

 

a texan who is ashamed of his state's governor

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

If the republicans succeed in getting the White House back it will be because they've tampered with voting rights.  They stole the 2000 election and it's quite possible they'll do it again.

uppercasematt
uppercasematt

So Texas should just pass legislation that requires that every 18-years-or-older resident obtain an ID card -- such a non-voting requirement would not be subject to VRA meddling. 

 

Then, they require the voter ID, and there is no arguable VRA argument based on "but look at all the people that desperately want to vote but have never done anything else in their lives that requires an ID!"

 

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

If showing ID is too much of a burden to exercise your constitutional right to vote, then it is too much of a burden for purchasing your constitutionally guaranteed right to firearms.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk

 @Americano Really, your argument stands up without the strawman of "Dems insistent on allowing non-citizens to vote."

 

Unless, of course, you can prove that ridiculous assertion.

 

The floor belongs to you...

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

 @Americano Non-citizens do not vote and Democrats don't insist that non-citizens should vote, but you already knew that.

rufuslevin
rufuslevin

 @Cecil that is the land of SELLING absentee vote cards to the highest bidder, conducted by agents and african american ministers who canvas absentee ballot holders, obtain them signed in blank, and sell them to the candidate who is in a tight race for a last minute blitz vote.

 

talk about DISENFRANCHISING...it would take ALL that money away from the crooks.

Cecil
Cecil

And instead of the Voting Rights Act, its the Fair Housing Act that applies. 

phxmark86
phxmark86

@yodownmuthalicka like the right to free speech without having some pathetic, handicapped internet tough guy threaten to smash out your teeth then piss on you like a dog? Seems like you want the constitution to    be something that should be respected unless your gimp ass is offended. Then, fukk everyone else's rights, gimpy is gonna start smashing teeth and peeing on stuff. Sad, sad, handicapped little man.

pak152
pak152

 @yodownmuthalicka well the Constitution leaves it up to the individual states to determine the voting laws in their respective states. part of Article X.

flyingfur
flyingfur

 @ResistanceIsOhm Schools are not underfunded.  PARENTS are not taking responsibility for teaching their chilldren to properly attend school to become educated.  We are sick of bleeding money into the school system.  If parents are going to BREED and produce children they need to step up and spend their own money and stop blaming government for education challenges due to ill-behaved children.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz you seriously believe that?  C'mon, we know why democrats oppose Voter ID laws, bc if they pass, they cant vote multiple times.... teehee

Jbone
Jbone

 @rufuslevin  @Cecil 

 

The "racket" you speak of, will soon be over. The gig is up, and they know it!!! 

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk

 @Americano  @TheCredibleHulk Yes, yes, we've read all of the overblown speculation and hyperventilated extrapolation of the actual statistics.

 

Now, once again I'll ask you, please provide some proof that any democrat that "insists" that some illegal alien should cast an illegal vote.

TxDad25
TxDad25

 @Jbone  @rufuslevin  @Cecil  Interestingly, none of these voter ID laws require people to show photo ID to get an absentee ballot. That's because people who vote absentee tend to vote disproportionately Republican. So the "problem" you speak of isn't even covered by the law. Oh, and studies of the last two national elections show that of 190 million votes cast, fewer than 60 cases of in-person voter fraud have been confirmed. This despite Republican "watchdogs" flagging thousands more they suspected but that were ultimately found to be valid votes. 

pak152
pak152

 @GuitarPlayer  @ScottsMerkin wasn't there just a case in Dallas County? seriously the press and the DA's don't want to investigate allegations of voter fraud. but there have been several instances around the country of voter fraud. where voter fraud is especially problematic is when the election is close. recently there were some local elections in Texas that some of the races ended in ties. or look at Minnesota with the election of  Al Franken to the US Senate

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122766278026358823.html

"Ballot Madness: Tipping the Scales in Minnesota's Senate Recount Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,470892,00.html#ixzz255DIBO3T"

"In the eyes of the Obama administration, most Democratic lawmakers and left-leaning editorial pages across the country, voter fraud is a problem that doesn't exist. Allegations of fraud, they say, are little more than pretexts conjured up by Republicans to justify voter ID laws designed to suppress Democratic turnout."

http://townhall.com/columnists/byronyork/2012/08/13/when_1099_felons_vote_in_a_race_won_by_312_ballots

rubbercow
rubbercow

@GuitarPlayer I am cool with the fraud being minute - as long as we can guarantee that it is your vote which is canceled out by fraud. Sound ok?

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

 @GuitarPlayer Im curious, your attitude makes it seem as if you are painting me as a right wing nut?  If thats your argument you are wrong. Im not naive enough to think that voter fraud doesnt happen.  We are humans, it human nature for people to cheat and game the system.  hell how do you think your favorite politician gets anywhere in life

GuitarPlayer
GuitarPlayer

 @ScottsMerkin Oh fuck you. What have you contributed to this discussion besides your usual short sighted bullshit? 

GuitarPlayer
GuitarPlayer

 @ScottsMerkin  Its so minute vs the voting public and you know it. Just another way to keep the balance to one side. 

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

 @GuitarPlayer nice of you to cherry pick the one story supporting your side mashed between story after story of fraud *Acorn

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

 @GuitarPlayer  @Mr_Hand so you want to ignore the fact that it happens, recently, and in our area and you think thats the only time it happens.  Such a peon brained thought

GuitarPlayer
GuitarPlayer

 @Mr_Hand  So what if it dated in Feb?  These laws were well on their way. The fact is that voter fraud is so low. This is all fake outrage over a problem that doesn't exist and meant to keep the poor and minorities away from the polls because they are usually Democrats. You don't have to be as stupid as to think a woman can't get preggo from rape to understand that. 

 

Mr_Hand
Mr_Hand

 @GuitarPlayer  @ScottsMerkin

 Seriously? This was February, in our back yard.....

 " A verdict has come down in the Carlos Medrano case. The former Dallas County justice of the peace was found guilty of illegal voting."  I dont think in-person voter fraud at the polls is the real issue, and the current voter ID law is mis-directed as drafted.  However, If you think fraud is not rampant in elections, you are not being honest with yourself. 

observist
observist topcommenter

 @everlastingphelps

 Whew!  Good thing we got that cookie-cutter ALEC voter ID legislation in place before the goverment started slaughtering citizens by the millions!

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