Skip to main content

In another installment of a three-year legal battle, a test of the Department of Justice's new approach to fighting what it views as discriminatory voting laws began in a federal district court in Corpus Christi, Texas, Tuesday. The case is expected to last about two weeks.

Republican Gov. Rick Perry signed a stringent new law in 2011 requiring voters to present a government-issued photo ID before being allowed to cast a ballot. Passports, drivers' licenses and concealed handgun permits are acceptable; student IDs are not.

The law didn't go into effect until 2013. That's because the U.S. Department of Justice blocked its implementation under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which required that several states and other jurisdictions pre-clear any changes in voting laws because they had a history of discriminating against minorities. Texas took the matter to federal court in 2012 and lost when a three-judge panel ruled that the ID law discriminated against the poor and racial minorities.

In June 2013, however, the U.S. Supreme Court gutted Section 4 of the VRA, which made Section 5 moot. Shortly thereafter, Texas put the ID requirement into effect. The DOJ is using another section of the law, Section 2, to challenge that requirement.

Terri Langford at the Texas Tribune reports on the first day in court:  

Elizabeth Westfall of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, the first plaintiff’s attorney to make an opening statement, said that 787,000 Texas voters do not have acceptable photo identification to vote now. “And Hispanics and African-Americans make up a disproportionate share,” she added. [...]

Danielle Conley, who represents the Houston-based Texas League of Young Voters, said SB 14 shares a “kinship” with Texas’ history of discriminating against minority voters.

The law’s design, she said is to “keep a population already on society’s margins from having a voice.”

There's more below the fold.

An attorney for the state argued that the law presents no impediment to voting since people must have an ID for banking transactions or getting on an airplane.

But witnesses told stories showing that the ID law is an impediment and the costs associated with getting an ID can be too much for the poor. For instance, Beaumont Deputy Fire Chief Calvin Carrier noted that his father, a Korean War paratrooper, still doesn't have proper ID because the wrong name, date of birth and race are listed on his birth certificate. “He stated to me he couldn’t believe that after serving his country in the war, all the Social Security he’s paid working his entire life, he was denied the right to vote for a simple card,” Carrier said.

Texas officials argue that the law is all about stopping voter fraud even though the number of such cases doesn't add up enough to qualify as even a minuscule problem.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 12:06 PM PDT.

Also republished by TexKos-Messing with Texas with Nothing but Love for Texans and Daily Kos.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site