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Another voter ID update

From the Lone Star Project:

Still the only voter ID anyone should need

Last week, the Trump Department of Justice brought press attention to the ongoing Texas voter ID lawsuit that remains pending before Federal District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos in Corpus Christi. The Trump DOJ withdrew long-standing federal government claims that the Texas law was adopted with the intent to discriminate against Hispanic and African American Texans.

By withdrawing its claims of discriminatory intent in the Texas case, the Trump DOJ, led by embattled Attorney General Jeff Sessions, sent its first clear signal that the DOJ under Trump will not responsibly defend the U.S. Voting Rights Act or block discrimination against minority citizens.

Moreover, in their brief to Judge Ramos, the Trump DOJ argued that she should delay her ruling on discriminatory intent until the current Texas Legislature decides on the adoption of a new Texas voter ID law.  The argument is extraordinary in that it somehow reasons that the intentions of a Legislature convened in 2017 can repair or erase the discriminatory intentions of a different Legislature convened in 2011.

On Tuesday, allied plaintiffs challenging the Texas voter ID law, who include U.S. Congressman Marc Veasey (TX33 – Dallas/Fort Worth), filed their brief responding to the Trump DOJ.  The brief is relatively short and easy to follow.  The key points made are:

  • The Trump DOJ withdrew its claims of discriminatory intent based on political rather than substantive legal considerations.  They failed to cite any new evidence refuting discriminatory intent.
  • Action by the current Texas Legislature to consider or pass a new voter ID law does not reflect on the intent of the Legislature five years ago, and should not affect Judge Ramos’ actions or ruling on discriminatory intent now.
  • Judge Ramos should issue her ruling on discriminatory intent now, while holding her final judgement and prescribing a remedy until the Legislature completes whatever actions it may take on new voter ID legislation.

Judge Ramos is expected to issue her response to the briefs filed soon.

See here for the background. I didn’t think much of the state and DOJ’s arguments last week, and I don’t think any more of them now. Between this and the redistricting decision, the potential to substantially roll back some of the most egregiously restrictive voting laws of this decade is great.

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4 Comments

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    http://www.vox.com/identities/2017/3/15/14909764/study-voter-id-racism

    Even Vox now admitting that voter ID laws don’t really disenfranchise minority voters.

  2. Mark says:

    Yeah, that’s not what Vox said Bill.

    “[s]trict voter ID laws may reduce turnout, particularly among minorities, but the evidence presented in [the original study] does not constitute reliable information documenting such a relationship.”

    and just for good measure:

    “None of this research should let the people passing voting restrictions off the hook…This is simply deplorable. It’s a direct admission that voter restrictions are politically motivated attempts to disenfranchise black voters.”

  3. brad m says:

    Bill’s stand up comedy routine…

    Ba dum bum…[hand clapping]

  4. Bill Daniels says:

    Mark:

    I give Vox credit for walking back their earlier narrative that voter ID laws wholesale disenfranchise large swaths of the POC population. They walked it back to “may.”

    Did you catch this, right below the main title of their article:

    “A follow-up study suggests voter ID laws may not have a big effect on elections.”

    One day I may actually break down and learn Spanish. Conversely, I may continue to just butcher through it using what I have picked up from Spanish speaking folks I have worked with. I may decide to sleep in tomorrow. Then again, I may get up extra early to make a sandwich to take with me for lunch. The key word in all of this is, “may,” and that’s not a strong indicator of anything untoward.

    Remember the Dutch election yesterday? You know what those fine people of the Netherlands did when they went to vote? They showed a picture ID to vote. And nobody cried, “but muh racism.”

    And speaking of deplorable, what I find really deplorable is the paternalistic attitude of Vox, intimating that black voters are too stupid or too poor to obtain a state DL or ID card. Why not go poll people in Sunnyside, 5th Ward, Acres Homes, and other places, and ask them if they are too poor or too stupid to obtain a Texas ID card? I bet any polster asking that question in those areas would stand a good chance of getting assaulted, for even suggesting such a thing.

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