Texas Voter ID Law Struck Down
As the New York Times reports:
"The three-judge panel in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia called Texas’ voter-identification law the most stringent of its kind in the country, though Gov. Rick Perry and the state’s attorney general vowed to appeal the decision to the United States Supreme Court. The judges’ ruling came just two days after another three-judge panel in the same court found that the Texas Legislature had intentionally discriminated against minority voters in drawing up new political maps for Congressional and legislative districts, citing the same section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965."
The Texas law required voters to produce one of five acceptable forms of identification, including a concealed weapons permit, in order to cast a ballot. For those without current photo identification, the state would provide a free election ID card, but the card had to be picked up in person at a state Department of Public Safety office, and obtaining the verified documents required for such a card would require paying certain fees. The three judges in their unanimous ruling decided that the combination of travel and expenses would place an undue burden on the working poor, particularly those living in counties without a Department of Public Safety office.
Texas governor and former Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry blasted the decision, as the Times reports:
"'Chalk up another victory for fraud,' Mr. Perry said in a statement. 'Today, 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.'"
Documented voter fraud in Texas is remarkably low, with only 62 cases since 2002, making the push for more stringent standards seem to be based on something other than data. It is particularly interesting given that the establishment of a new government protocol both expands government and spends more government money, both of which are generally anathema to the Republican Party, which has promoted such laws in states across America.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder lauded the ruling, saying that it reaffirmed "the vital role the Voting Rights Act plays in our society to ensure that every American has the right to vote and to have that vote counted," according to the Times.
Reach Executive Producer Matt Pressberg here.