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Remember the old saying that criminals always return to the scene of the crime? Maybe that explains why ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, is headed to Dallas for its annual conference this week.

Over the last four years, laws making it harder to vote have been spreading across the country, including in Texas. And ALEC has been in the thick of it.  A voter ID bill passed in 2011 in Texas closely resembles ALEC’s “Voter ID Act.” The Texas bill was sponsored by several ALEC-member legislators, and signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry, an ALEC alum and award winner. The U.S. Justice Department   blocked the law in 2012, but when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down parts of the Voting Rights Act in June 2013 in Shelby County v. Holder, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced the voter ID bill would take effect “immediately.”

Texas’s law is one of the most stringent in the country, and could make it harder to vote for an estimated 5-10% of the state’s 13.6 million voters. After the Supreme Court struck down part of the Voting Rights Act in Shelby, the Department of Justice filed a new case against the law.

 Texas voters are already experiencing problems at their polling places as a direct result of the law. In the 2013 election, Judge Sandra Watts, State Sen. Wendy Davis, and Attorney General Greg Abbott all ran into problems at the polling place when their name on the official voter rolls did not exactly match their name of their photo IDs. Ruby Barber, a 92-year-old citizen of Bellmead, TX. was initially denied the election ID card required by the new law, after she was unable to produce her birth certificate. Royal Masset, the former political director of the Texas Republican Party, has publicly opposed the law because he has no way to prove that his 91 year-old mother is not dead given that he can’t provide her birth certificate. And The New York Times recently reported that college students, other young voters, and low-income citizens also are a target of voter ID laws. The latter group includes large numbers of black and Latino citizens who simply do not have the money or access to obtain the necessary documentation.  

Since Common Cause, the Center for Media and Democracy, and coalition partners launched the campaign to expose ALEC and its proposed policies to  make it harder for people to vote, hundreds of corporations and legislators have left ALEC. ALEC claims that it dropped its “Voter ID Act” from its list of “model” bills in April 2012. But the damage has already been done. Voter ID laws have been passed in more than two dozen states, most of them resembling ALEC’s model bill. In 2013, the year after ALEC claims it stopped supporting the bill, proposalssimilar to ALEC’s “Voter ID Act” were introduced in 20 states, the Center for Media and Democracy reported.

Key Texas Voter ID supporters, including Gov. Perry, Attorney General Abbott, and House Speaker Joe Straus, will be speaking at ALEC’s conference in Dallas. While ALEC has stopped pushing its “Voter ID Act,” at least openly, we are reminded of what ALEC co-founder Paul Weyrich once said: "I don't want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people. They never have been from the beginning of our country, and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down."

Texas is a prime example of how Weyrich’s vision of widespread voter suppression became a reality via the ALEC agenda.  

This article was originally posted on Common Cause's Democracy Wire

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Comment Preferences

  •  Everyone needs to keep an eye on ALEC: (10+ / 0-)

    the sneaky underhanded tool of the 1%.

    "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

    by YucatanMan on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 08:59:36 AM PDT

    •  And the "junior ALECs" in every state (7+ / 0-)

      State Policy Network

      in a recent meeting behind closed doors with the heads of SPN affiliates around the country, Sharp "compared the organization’s model to that of the giant global chain IKEA." She reportedly said that SPN "would provide 'the raw materials,' along with the 'services' needed to assemble the products. Rather than acting like passive customers who buy finished products, she wanted each state group to show the enterprise and creativity needed to assemble the parts in their home states. 'Pick what you need,' she said, 'and customize it for what works best for you.'" Not only that, but Sharp "also acknowledged privately to the members that the organization's often anonymous donors frequently shape the agenda. 'The grants are driven by donor intent,' she told the gathered think-tank heads. She added that, often, 'the donors have a very specific idea of what they want to happen.'"[2]

      A set of coordinated fundraising proposals obtained and released by The Guardian in early December 2013 confirm many of these SPN members' intent to change state laws and policies, referring to "advancing model legislation" and "candidate briefings."

      “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

      by Catte Nappe on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 10:08:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  They are truly the shadow government with their (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      cut and paste legislation handed out to all of the attendees from the various state's legislatures that attend their "events" along with hot dogs, ice cream and balloons for the kiddies that attend with their A.L.E.C. state meat puppet legislator parents.  Ever wonder why over the past few years similar bills and legislation have been passed, or attempted in many of the Red state controlled in the country?

      Wake up folks as this hasn't been by accident, but rather by design.

      This isn't any coincidence by any stretch.  It has been planned, orchestrated and now put into play across this nation.  From voter suppression to trying to kill states that want alternative energy legislation, they are there in the shadows like the cockroaches they are with their kill bills for their agenda.

      “My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that, and I intend to end up there." - Rumi

      by LamontCranston on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 03:42:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is one of the things Wendy & Leticia fight (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane, Mopshell, tom 47

    recently launching the biggest voter protection work in the country.

    LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

    by BlackSheep1 on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 10:36:28 AM PDT

  •  Texas isn't the only state where A.L.E.C. got its' (0+ / 0-)

    way with voter suppression.  

    They wrote the legislation for North Carolina's laws on the books about voter ID coupled with suppression of the senior and young adult vote (college students in particular).  I am very disheartened that AG Holder has not done absolutely nothing about this to date in our state.  The suppression tactics coupled with the disgraceful gerrymandering will make it very hard to get our state back from the clutches of A.L.E.C. and the Koch brothers.  They also smell blood in the water with Hagen's Senatorial re-election with their two bit bigot loser in the dog fight, "Tiny Thom" Tillis, North Carolina's, and hopefully not the country's, nightmare.

    Oh yes...  A.L.E.C. and the Tar Heel Teabilly Taliban are very familiar with Jim Crow, and welcomed him back to our state in full force.  The governor of NC (McCrory) will be the keynote speaker at the A.L.E.C. soiree.....  

    Any KOS brothers or sisters invited to the power drunk nefarious Gala?

    I didn't think so.

    Forward Together, Not One Step Back!

    “My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that, and I intend to end up there." - Rumi

    by LamontCranston on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 03:33:12 PM PDT

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