As the Obama Administration Sues Texas Over Voter ID, Craig Watkins and Clay Jenkins Take to MSNBC

ClayJenkinsCraigWatkinsMSNBC2.jpg
MSNBC
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins and District Attorney Craig Watkins during an appearance Wednesday on MSNBC
Update at 11:43 a.m.: Attorney General Eric Holder officially has Dallas County's back:

Original post: On Tuesday, Dallas County Commissioners voted 3-2 to join Congressman Marc Veasey in a lawsuit seeking to overturn Texas' voter ID law. The decision, County Judge Clay Jenkins argued, was a necessary step toward protecting the voting rights of the estimated 220,000 Dallas County voters who lack an approved, state-issued ID, like a driver's license or concealed handgun permit.

The vote inspired a predictable backlash from Republicans. Commissioner Mike Cantrell issued a statement calling it "a dangerous precedent to be committing the Dallas County treasury for purely partisan politics." Dallas County Republican Chair Wade Emmert was more colorful in an interview with The Dallas Morning News.

"Marc Veasey went looking for a sugar daddy, and Dallas County, with Clay Jenkins and Craig Watkins, is coming to his aid," Emmert said.

See also: Congressman Marc Veasey Is Suing the State of Texas to Stop Enforcement of Its Voter ID Law

Jenkins, for his part, had a response at the ready. "It is sad and predictable that the Republican Party chair used sexist language to describe our efforts to protect the voting rights of African-American and Hispanic citizens in Dallas County," he told the Morning News.

As for Cantrell's charge, Jenkins was able to give his answer to a national audience Wednesday on MSNBC -- a great, nonpartisan choice of venue, by the way. "Only a cynical professional politician could believe that the right to vote is all about politics."

Watkins joined Jenkins for the MSNBC interview, the pair of them blinking awkwardly at the camera against a backdrop of downtown Dallas.

"Unfortunately, our state elected officials chose to use tax dollars to disenfranchise voters, to take away their constitutional rights," he said, comparing voter ID to a poll tax. "We felt in necessary that we restore those rights and we protect the citizens we represent in Dallas County.

Watch it below:

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72 comments
PreciousDemSnowflake
PreciousDemSnowflake

"MSNBC -- a great, nonpartisan choice of venue"

Nicholson is a humorist  in the vein of Mencken, Twain and Bierce.

TXTC
TXTC

So pretty to see all the hate for the poor, elderly, and disabled in the comments. Sadly, the bitter hissy fits are probably coming from people who also identify as good Christians. Oh, if only they were.

smichaelclark59
smichaelclark59

The only reason they are against voter ID is because the only way they win their races is because of all the voter fraud in Dallas.  Hundreds that are on the voter registration roll  have been dead for years 

roo_ster
roo_ster

The introduction of voter ID laws make it more difficult to commit voter fraud and therefore the Democrats oppose it.  Period.


cmint
cmint

There is room for debate on this topic even if the voter id laws turn out to be empty gestures. This paper writes about absentee ballot fraud, but decries the efforts to correct the system without offering any alternatives. Granted the only way to get it 100% correct would be pretty draconian.

What I think we all want is one vote, for each registered voter, voted in the right location for where they reside. There must be a way to get pretty close to this right? right? Anybody know how? Please tell us.

davej.francis
davej.francis

O WHY DOES THE DEPT OF JUSTICE, ERIC HOLDER AND HIS MINIONS OUT TO SUE TEXAS OVER ITS VOTER ID LAWS?

OBAMA'S THRALL DOESN'T WANT ANY VOTING ID LAWS, AS THEN NON-CITIZENS WILL NOT BE ABLE TO VOTE ILLEGALLY?

Stop this travesty over voting laws. Demand the federal government issue every citizen a biometric social security card. This digital ID card will display your photograph, fingerprint or iris scan and will not only halt voter fraud as in the presidential election by non-citizens, but will detect foreigners in the workplace and as an additional incentive bring to an end credit theft. Everybody will then be satisfied, hopefully except for the Liberals as they want all to vote... including non-citizens?

Threeboys
Threeboys

A few queries

1. Can anyone clearly explain how requiring voter id is "disenfranchising"?

2. Can anyone tell me how using the term "sugar daddy" is sexist?

3. Can anyone explain, that if requiring voter id is "purely partisan politics" how is so staunchly advocating for them NOT purely partisan politics?

4. When Jenkins says " our efforts to protect the voting rights of African American and Hispanics in Dallas County" is he both turning his back in disenfranchised white voters and/or saying that its only African Americans and Hispanics who cannot figure out how to obtain voter id?

James080
James080

And just what are Dumb and Dumber, with their hired guns, going to bring to the lawsuit that the Attorney General of the United States can't provide?

Hmmmmmm. 

Maybe Dumb and Dumber are merely funneling county money to a hired gun law firm they are pals with, knowing the law firm will have the opportunity to collect much larger legal fees from the state if the voter ID law is reversed. 

Isn't this exactly how the DA rewards his contributors and supporters?

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum topcommenter

Poor GOP -- their base is shrinking proportionally so quickly that they are resorting to the despicable level of trying to disenfranchise the most economically disadvantaged of Americans. Their slide into the rubbish bin of history continues.

mcdallas
mcdallas

"Sugar-daddy" is a sexist response to a racist voter ID law.  bwahaha.  Makes me want to punch someone in the teeth.  But I guess that would make me an anti-dentite.

ebailey75057
ebailey75057

Get off your backsides and get a valid photo ID already!!! 

To sit there and claim; in this day and age,  that you are unable to acquire a valid photo id is BS!!!! 

Call the Repugnants bluff, get your valid photo IDs, then next election skew the elections so bad the Repugnants won't know what hit em

Signed

A Liberal Democrat

Phil
Phil

What I would like to see is the number of times over the last 10 years every person who is trotted out as a pitiable victim of Voter ID oppression (on NPR you get double goodies: elderly black women who croak in dialect about childhood Jim Crow suppression as universal representatives) has actually voted.

Apparently, every single one of those whose democratic dreams would be crushed if required to have a photo ID has faithfully trekked to every election but the next one. It's the rest of us slackers who are driving the voting rate down below the divorce rate.

The answer to the talking point that Voter ID addresses a non-existent problem is this: the franchise is simply too precious not to secure it in every way possible, by Voter ID, by absentee ballot reform, by every conceivable way possible. Period. End of story.

Of course, there are always alternatives to the vote and the law. If the franchised legal system falls into corrupt disrepute, I'll be okay with exercising those alternatives.

Tom434
Tom434

When the County officials go to the 5th Circuit Court in New Orleans, the case will certainly go to at least the 5th Circuit, to hear argument they better take their photo ID with them because you cannot enter the building without a photo ID

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

Rather than waste all this time, effort and money on a voter ID requirement, the time, effort and money should be directed to a coordinated bipartisan (yeah, could it happen?) effort to review the voter rolls and clean those up.

Voter ID laws are just not necessary, there isn't an existing problem that requiring an ID would solve.

Having a clean, updated voter roll in each County would do more to ensure any attempt at voter fraud is minimized if not stopped.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

While the voter ID laws are ridiculous, I find it strange a county can sue the state. It is like suing yourself.

Thomas Stennis
Thomas Stennis

Never was an issue till 2008. Wonder why all of a sudden...?

drtz
drtz

Just pass a law that says everyone must have a gov't issued photo ID.  Problem solved.

Garrett Mobley
Garrett Mobley

What is wrong with Dallas when 220,000 of its population can't afford or get access to a form of identification?

Tom434
Tom434

What rock do you live under not to have a photo ID

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@TXTC     So, how does one get to be as self-righteous as you tex?  

cantgetfooledagain
cantgetfooledagain

@roo_ster Wow, the walking dead.  Dead people don't usually walk into polling locations...maybe you are talking about vote by mail ballots...which the GOP didn't address at all...why not?

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

Have you not seen the numerous movies where such security systems are defeated with amputated fingers and eyeballs? This would make voter registration a very dangerous thing.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

You just listed a few tasks for Google. Hint: avoid the extremist sites or else keep aspirin and liquor handy.

ruddski
ruddski

If you don't take reasonable steps to guard the integrity of the process, then someone will abuse the system. They always have and always will, and when they do they are disenfranchisng a legal voter. We're told that fully ten percent of Dallas county cannot obtain a photo ID, but we're told that the same system can easily absorb millions of new citizens with even fewer resources, with nary a hitch. The dem party has the most powerful GOV army ever, and they can't get photo IDs for these? What a load of crap.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

The ID would work if it were easy for voters to get IDs. It would require a permanent and small scale census effort, as those lacking IDs will need ID officials to help them, , assist in getting birth certificates, etc. Better these efforts be used to expand absentee voting (those citizens without DLs would seem to prefer absentee balloting) and establish controls to prevent its already prevalent abuse.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

This is extreme cognitive dissonance. I understand Republicans trying to suppress contrary voters, but their focus on voter ID laws is a poor way to achieve their means, as illegitimate as they may be. Besides choosing a course constitutionally specious, the real fraud, as aptly noted by Mavdog, is the door to door bundling of absentee ballots. I have no idea how to curb this abuse but if you are looking for possible phony votes, that is where I would look first.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

What is wrong with leaving a fingerprint?

Threeboys
Threeboys

Given that all the vitriol is anti Republican, one must assume it is under that rock that the Democrat party is looking for votes.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

My father has been unable to drive or travel for the last 25 years. Hasn't had a drivers license or passport in years. And BTW, he is a natural born US citizen, though I have no idea if he has a birth certificate in his possession.

MisterMean
MisterMean

@Tom434 It seems that (in many states) ids from college are not accepted.   Also many women have incorrect id's due to name changes (marriage) or other circumstances.  How about the elderly who many not have a current one (they do not drive anymore due to age).   Most all news reports I have heard suggest that this is a solution to a problem (illegal voting) that does not exist.  Documented cases are very miniscule to justify such a sweeping solution.

I guess this might  be a solution if you know that you can't get elected by fair means and must exclude vast amounts of the citizenry .   It works for Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe / Rhodesia so it must be good for the GOP.

TexMarine
TexMarine

@primi_timpano I'm not sure anyone is so eager to vote that they'd chop off someone else finger or pop out an eyeball....would they?

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@ruddski 

1. can you point to an instance where a person was successful in their attempt to "abuse the system" and "disenfranchising a legal voter" by way of imposter of a registered voter at a voting precinct? iow where a person would not have been able to commit voting fraud if an ID was mandated?

2. your argument is that if "10% of the Dallas County voters cannot obtain a photo ID" (a claim which I find dubious btw) than immigration reform is impossible? you conjure a link between these two issues? really? totally ridiculous. try again.

Threeboys
Threeboys

Like the absentee votes from soldiers in theatre that weren't allowed to be counted In the last two presidential elections?

Threeboys
Threeboys

If he has had 25 years to get a valid ID but hasn't, he shouldn't be voting.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@MisterMean @Tom434 You may be a resident of one state and attend college in another.  perhaps that is why college ID's are not accepted?  You are supposed to vote in the State and County in which you are a resident, aren't you?

ruddski
ruddski

Or one huge rock called the condescending and paternalistic liberal estanlishment, which can provide food, education, legal aid, housing and just about anything but a photo ID for those who have come to depend on said establishment.

TexMarine
TexMarine

@primi_timpano you're describing events that didn't happen when the other 35 states who have similar laws put them in place. Poor little Mexico managed to do this on a national level.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

Ever tried to get a passport or new drivers license? Not easy. Now imagine making these services mobile, and run by the county. It will be difficult and frustrating, but if an ID is required to vote, then county registrars will have to hit the streets, help assemble birth certificates, and then show up later to collect absentee ballots. This will be a full time service in light of the continuous fed, state, local, and school board election cycles.

ruddski
ruddski

Hispanics are more apprecistive if socialism than any othrer voting bloc, they'll vote socialist.

doublecheese
doublecheese

@mavdog @Threeboys Absolutely.  Why do you think the left has pressed so hard all these years to get illegal immigrants hooked on social services?  They are buying the votes with tax dollars, and it's disgusting.  Disingenuous doesn't even describe those who claim otherwise.

Threeboys
Threeboys

Really? You don't think immigration reform is about Hispanics? And their vote?

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@Threeboys 

really? all the new citizens by way of immigration reform will vote democrat?

nope, won't happen. it doesn't happen today, and the immigrants who would obtain citizenship are a varied group in race, country of origin, and in their political leanings.

Threeboys
Threeboys

To bury your head in the sand and believe that the push for amnesty is not also a push to increase democrat guaranteed voters by 11 million is disingenuous

What will happen after this amnesty, which supposes a 10 year waiting period before full citizenship, is that the Democrat party will scream after 2 years that we are infringing on the rights of these not-yet-citizens and they should be cleared to vote right away.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@Threeboys Let me help you out here, before Mav and primi reduce you to a babbling boob.  'hasn't found out how to obtain a voting card' is your own fabrication, it was never stated that way in the original post.  That is your first failure.  One of the things you'll discover if you ever take and pass a credible civics class is that a Voter photo ID violates the US Constitution, unless the ID is provided at no cost by the state and uniformly across the population.  Anything less would be a de facto poll tax and illegal.  That is fail number 2.  Best for last.  You are mentioning a voting card, which I would take to mean a voter registration card, which everybody already needs in order to vote.  They can be received through the mail.  The issue at hand isn't voter registration cards, but photo ID's at the polls.  Apples/lemons.  Fail #3.

I'm on the fence myself, with the question of the scale of voter fraud and the need for a remedy to it.  I do think we need to find some way to ensure that those who are exercising the right to vote actually have the right to vote.  However, I stop short at violating the Constitution and severely hampering the legitimate right to vote of a great many people in order to halt a perceived fraud that may not even be large enough to affect the outcome of an election anyway.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

He votes by mail. He receives his voter registration card by mail. He could teach civics but would not waste his time with nitwits trying to impose a national ID card to keep nonexistent importers from voting in place of their identity theft victims.

Go to a nursing home and talk to some 80 and 90 year olds. Ask them how they vote. Some take great pride in taking the trouble to cast their vote at the polls. For decades they have arrived with their registration card, sign the roll , and vote. So things will be improved if they need a separate photo ID? Based on what? A certified copy of a birth certificate; the price for one of these in Texas starts at $22.00. Then there is the price of a drivers license or passport.

If one is to be legitimately concerned about imposter voting, one should be as equally concerned about keeping voting available to the old and poor, who do not have the stack of IDs younger people naturally collect to manage in life, business, and recreation.

Many of these elderly fought in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam Nam. Now they need an ID to vote?

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@Threeboys 

you should re read the post, you failed to undersand what they wrote. comprehension failure on your part.

Threeboys
Threeboys

First of all, I think that anyone should be required to take a civics test in order to obtain a voting card.

Now in your fathers case I'm saying that if, in 25 years, he hasn't found out how to obtain a voting card, maybe he shouldn't be voting in the first place.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@Threeboys 

really? he doesn't need a drivers license or passport so in your opinion he should just forfeit his right as a US citizen to vote?

good grief.

whocareswhatithink
whocareswhatithink

@ruddski Now, now.......what would the bleeding hearts say to that.......my case in point is Mister Mean...somehow these elderly, married and college aged students are unable to get some form of ID...because you know, changing the ID requirements of what is actually accepted could never happen...which reminds me, did you know you can fly using a Sams Club card.

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