And that is to make it harder to vote. Mostly for the poor, the elderly, college students, and minorities. This is a feature, not a bug.
The state’s contested voter ID law could provoke widespread complications in the upcoming presidential elections, with as many as 18 percent of all registered voters across Texas apparently lacking state government-issued photo IDs to match their voter registration cards, according to records obtained by the Houston Chronicle.
Texas secretary of state officials did not find matching 2012 driver’s licenses or state-issued photo IDs for 2.4 million of the state’s 12.8 million registered voters, though all but about 800,000 of those voters supplied a valid identification number when they first registered to vote. The findings come from documents submitted by the state to the U.S. Department of Justice as part of an ongoing review of the new voter ID law.
The “matching” exercises conducted by the state showed up to 22 percent of Bexar County voters apparently lacked the IDs, as well as 20 percent in Dallas County and 19 percent in Harris County, based on the Chronicle’s review of the state data.
Look, this is not a secret and it’s not a surprise. The point is to ensure that fewer people vote. The fact that people who tend to vote Democratic, especially people of color, who will be disproportionately affected is by design. There are things the Republicans could have done to mitigate that impact. They could have allowed student IDs to be among those considered acceptable. They did allow concealed-carry licenses; you tell me why those were preferred. They could have provided IDs for everyone who doesn’t have one, instead of making those people go to their local DMV office; if you happen to live in one of the 80 counties that don’t have a DMV office, well, it sucks to be you. They could have attempted to address some of the issues with mail ballots, which are the one place where actual vote fraud has been known to occur. But Republicans use mail ballots a lot more than Democrats, so we can’t have any of that. They did nothing to disguise their intentions. Why it is that this simple fact is so hard report in a straightforward manner continues to be a mystery to me. Juanita, the Trib, and Burka, who gets how ludicrous and farfetched the whole idea of in-person vote fraud is, have more. A statement from Sen. Rodney Ellis, urging the DOJ to refuse preclearance, is beneath the fold.
Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) today released the following letter to the head of the Civil Rights Voting Section at the U.S. Department of Justice, urging the Obama Administration reject Texas’ unnecessary, discriminatory voter ID law.
March 8, 2012
Mr. T. Christian Herren, Jr.
Chief, Voting Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington D.C. 20530
Dear Mr. Herren:
I write regarding the Section 5 preclearance of Texas’ Senate Bill 14 (82nd Legislature), and I once again respectfully request that the Department of Justice (DOJ) deny preclearance.
An article appearing in today’s Houston Chronicle, “Texas’ contested voter ID law could shave voter rolls,” points out that “with as many as 18 percent of all registered voters across Texas apparently lacking state government-issued photo IDs to match their voter registration cards,” implementation of Senate Bill 14 could have widespread negative consequences for the upcoming election and beyond. The article is attached for your review. It goes on to state that Senate Bill 14 will most heavily impact 20 of Texas’ Hispanic majority counties, although 19 percent of Harris County, which constitutes the majority of my Senate district, also may lack the required photo identification.
The Chronicle article is based on the data previously submitted by the State to the DOJ on January 12, 2012. As you know, the State’s letter laid out a number of reasons that the data, submitted in response to the DOJ request for further information on Senate Bill 14, fell short of fully answering the DOJ’s questions. What can be discerned from the State’s data, however, is highly troubling, as evidenced in today’s Chronicle article.
Regardless of the excuses for why the State fails to fully answer the DOJ’s question, it is clear that the State falls far short of meeting the standards set out in Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. As outlined on the DOJ’s own website, Section 5 “requires proof that the proposed voting change does not deny or abridge the right to vote on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group. If the jurisdiction is unable to prove the absence of such discrimination,” then the proposed change cannot receive preclearance and is legally unenforceable.
Again, given the State’s failure to prove that Senate Bill 14 has neither the purpose nor the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group, I respectfully request that the DOJ deny preclearance of Senate Bill 14. We must not proceed recklessly with far-reaching electoral changes that could potentially disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of legal voters.