Thursday, September 20, 2012
Good Decision Striking Down TX's Voter ID Law
Texas’ new voter ID law was struck down by a 3-judge U.S.District Court panel. Having read the opinion I agree. Although voter fraud and irregularity are real problems (see “Acorn” and “New Black Panther” cases) and political machines are often notorious for voter fraud, Texas’ law goes too far and is more stringent than laws previously upheld and empirically found to have no effect on voter turn out. See “Pravda’s” article here. Basically, win-at-any-cost Republican legislatures are trying to overcome “win-at-any-cost” Democratic voter fraud by enacting over-the-top voter ID laws. The Supreme Court, Crawford v. Marion County Election Board,553 U.S. 181(2008), and other courts have upheld some voter ID laws, but, IMHO this one goes too far. Two wrongs don’t make a right.
1. I trust the Republican-dominated Texas legislature on this issue about as much as I trust Chicago and D.C. City Councils--at least when it comes to fair play. The Repubs have a strong interest in depressing the low-income and minority votes (these folks tend to vote Democrat)
2. Associated costs are too high, esp relative to other states.(See opinion pp. 4-5, 26-7) Has this become a “poll tax?” It strikes me that increasing voting participation is a good thing. There should be minimal costs, if any to vote. The government should at least provide the required documents at minimal costs.
3. Some applicants must go to a Texas DPS Office: As the opinion notes (p. 27):
“The United States submitted unrebutted evidence showing that "81 Texas counties have no [DPS] office, and 34 additional counties have [DPS] offices open two days per week or less." Proposed Findings of Fact by Eric Himpton Holder, Jr. ("U.S. Proposed Findings") Doc. 223 at 6, see also Am. Compl., ECF No. 25 Ex. 7 at 4. This means that in at least one-third of Texas's counties, would-be voters will have to travel out-of-county merely to apply for an EIC. Georgia and Indiana voters face no such burdens. Indeed, Georgia law requires each county to "provide at least one place in the county at which it shall accept applications for and issue [free] Georgia voter identification cards." Ga. Code Ann. ? 21-2-417.1(a). Similarly, every Indiana county has a BMV office that is required by law to disperse "free" photo IDs. See Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Branch Locations and Hours, available online at http://www.in.gov/bmv/2337.htm (last visited August 28, 2012)."
4. The state of Texas has the legal burden of proof. In light of the conflicting “empirical” evidence, they have not met that burden. The myth of "social social objectivity” is clearly demonstrated by the inconsistent research results. Research where the investigator made a good faith effort to conduct unbiased research on hot-button topics is extremely hard to find.