The law would have made it extremely difficult for Texas Latinos such as 18-year-old twins Nicole and Victoria Rodriguez to vote, as groups argued in 2013. The young women at the time did not have driver's licenses since their parents could not afford car insurance, yet they had valid Texas birth certificates, high school IDs and Social Security identification. Still, they would not have been allowed to vote unless they traveled to a state office to get a special photo ID issued by the Department of Public Safety. Voting experts have pointed out the long distances and restricted hours of these state offices, which make obtaining the ID difficult for lower-income residents without cars as well as older voters.
As expected Greg Abbott threw six hundred thousands citizens under the bus and immediately appealed the ruling to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. His fake rationale is to ensure the integrity of the vote by fighting a non existent epidemic of voter fraud. Everyone except Greg Abbott and his Republican colleagues know voter fraud is non existent. Voter Fraud? What Voter Fraud?
In light of the dearth of voter-impersonation problems, it's hard not to conclude that Abbott and his fellow crusaders are being disingenuous - about as disingenuous, the columnist Paul Waldman has noted, as those elected officials claiming that laws mandating restrictions on abortion providers are really just about protecting women's health. What the voting-fraud Elliot Nesses are really concerned about, it seems, is making sure that those who may be inclined to vote other-than-Republican choose not to exercise their right. Apparently, the crusaders want to squeeze down the voting pool to just their most reliable folks.
Despite the fact that there is no voter fraud and everyone knows Greg Abbott's and the Texas GOP true intention is blatantly voter suppression, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked Judge Nelva Gonzalez Ramos's ruling from being implemented before Election Day.
Naturally Greg Abbott and his Republican colleagues are licking their chops and crowing. Heh, heh. Those 600,000 "others" can't vote for Democrats. Maybe if Republican lawmakers didn't have to lie or deceive voters into voting against their best interests, or if they had a half way decent message that resonated with middle and low income wage earners they wouldn't have to resort to cheating and suppressing the rights of many of us. But then it must be hard for a Party that represents the 1% to pretend they care about the rest of us. Texas is a low voting state and Republicans have been winning with a small minority of voters who are misled by fear mongering. The Democrats are going to make you have an abortion, Obama will take away your guns and Obamacare will subject you to death panels.
But I digress. What is really disturbing in all of this is the rationale of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals for blocking Judge Ramos's ruling. Is the court really upholding discrimination and a poll tax?
How a brutal Texas law got reinstated.
“Essentially, all the marbles of this 5th Circuit order come down to ‘it’s too close to the election to stop the law from going into effect, because pollworkers will be confused,”explains election law expert Justin Levitt of the NYU Brennan Center for Justice.
“It’s important to recognize that the court of appeals did not disturb the district court’s findings that some individuals do not have and will not likely be able to timely get the documents in question,” he adds. The issue is largely, for now, that, given the last minute ruling by the District Court striking down the law, pollworkers may be confused about what the voting requirements actually now are. Some may ask voters for the new restrictive set of Photo ID under the new laws, “preventing some individuals without the narrow set of ID from voting anything other than a provisional ballot,” says Levitt, while others may not.
I am sorry but this does not make any sense. This year has been the first in which voters have to produce a photo ID in order to vote. Poll workers are already
accustomed to asking for voter cards only with out an additional form of photo ID.
“So instead, the court makes it legal for all pollworkers to demand the more restricted set (preventing all individuals without the right ID from voting a valid ballot at all),” he continued. “Or, translated even further: if we let the district court’s order stand, some people without the right ID will be able to vote, and some won’t. And if we stay the district court, all people without the right ID won’t be able to vote. And in elections, ‘all’ is better than ‘some.’”
Levitt derides the ruling as “foolish consistency“. “It’s one thing to stop last-minute changes when the impact is less dire for those affected, another to stop last-minute changes when the change is new and unfamiliar, and still another to stop last-minute changes when the reason for the change isn’t clear.”
The “reason” offered by the 5th Circuit is largely more than “The Supreme Court has repeatedly instructed courts to carefully consider the importance of preserving the status quo on the eve an election,” according to the two Republican judges who comprised the majority. The Democratic appointee concurred with the majority, though more narrowly, citing only the SCOTUS precedent for avoiding last minute changes.
In other words the 5th Circuit has enabled Greg Abbott and the Texas Republican Party to disenfranchise 600,000 voters. And so has the John Robert's Supreme Court.
The Roberts Court is more interested in electing Republicans than they are with justice.
Which is why elections are so very important. When we don't vote we end up with hyper conservative judges on the Circuit Courts of Appeals and the SCOTUS who can do us more harm than good. Reagan, Bush I and Bush II gave us conservative justices that have sided with corporate rights over individual ones. They gutted the voter's rights act and look what has happened? 600,000 American citizens have been disenfranchised in Texas alone. They ruled money is speech and now the Koch boys and others like them are trying to buy the U.S. Senate. The Koch's, ALEC and every Texas fat cat already owns the state house. These are only the tips of a very partisan and anti-democratic iceberg, compliments of Republican Presidents.
Which is one more reason why Texas has to work like hell to flip this state blue. Once this happens, and it will, eventually, a Republican will not occupy the White House for a very long time. Given what Republican presidents have done to us since Ronald Reagan is certainly a strong motivating factor for me.
Texas Democrats, in concert with Battleground TX, have been working for well over a year to flip this state to at least purple. We now have over 14 million registered voters. This is 800,000 more than we had in 2010.
Wendy’s team of volunteers has made over 3.9 million phone calls and knocked on over 1.2 million doors, all before the start of GOTV. That’s a lot. That’s the scale of mobilization that can actually change the results of an election.
More voters are registered in Texas than ever before. The 14 million voters represents a 2.8% increase statewide since the last cycle, and per the Houston Chronicle, “voter registration outpaced expected population growth from 2012 to 2014.”
Together, these numbers mean a change in the electorate is afoot. These numbers mean that voters are being asked about issues and informed about the candidates who have never been contacted by either party before. They mean that people who have never voted before have been inspired to register — and which candidate do you think those newly engaged Texans are likely to support? Together, these numbers mean that the
Meanwhile the Houston Chronicle endorses Wendy Davis for Governor.
So, let's get to work everyone. Vote as if your life depends upon it. Because it does. Take your family, friends and neighbors to the polls with you. Sign up to take those without transportation to the the polls.
When Democrats vote. Democrats win.
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