The state of Texas has run afoul of Eric Holder’s Justice Department in its efforts to drag elections forward into the 21st century, and require sensible photo identification for voters. The Associated Press reports that after mulling things over for the better part of a year, the DOJ has decided Texas’ law is insufficiently non-racist:
In a letter to Texas officials that was also filed in the court case in Washington, the Justice Department said Hispanic voters in Texas are more than twice as likely than non-Hispanic voters to lack a driver’s license or personal state-issued photo ID. The department said that even the lowest estimates showed about half of Hispanic registered voters lack such identification.
The range was so broad because the state provided two sets of registered voter data.
In December, the Justice Department rejected South Carolina’s voter ID law on grounds it makes it harder for minorities to cast ballots. It was the first voter ID law to be rejected by the department in nearly 20 years.
In response, South Carolina sued Holder; the state argued that enforcement of its new law will not disenfranchise any voters.
At least half of the Hispanic voters in Texas lack a driver’s license? Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean half of them don’t drive. Happy motoring, Texans!
As with South Carolina’s voter-ID law, Texas bent over backwards to accommodate those who lack a driver’s license. Six other forms of photo ID would be acceptable, including free voter identification cards. Voters above the age of 65 could vote by mail without needing an ID card. Those who showed up at the polls without proper ID would be given provisional ballots, with a six-day grace period to produce the necessary ID.
Nevertheless, the Justice Department is empowered by the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to block election requirements that affect a “disproportionate” number of protected minorities, regardless of how mild the actual “inconvenience” might be. The devotion of people who call themselves “progressive” to certain antediluvian laws, long past the point where they have degenerated into offenses against simple common sense, is a wonder to behold. Apparently no “progress” is possible in certain regions of ideology, and geography.
The Washington Post gives us some clues to the real objection the Obama Administration has to reasonable voter ID laws:
The photo ID law would disproportionately affect poor and minority voters, who are least likely to have any of the required forms of identification or the documentation needed to obtain one, said Luis Figueroa, a San Antonio, Texas-based legislative staff attorney with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. It also would hurt students because college or university IDs would not be accepted, Figueroa said.
The photo ID requirement could suppress minority turnout by three percent to five percent in Harris County, where Houston is located, and give Republicans an edge in local elections, said Carroll Robinson, a professor at Texas Southern University in Houston and a former city council member.
There you have it: we must continue to run fraud-riddled election circuses right out of the last century, or maybe the one before that, because simple precautions to protect the franchise – on par with the protections governing access to Disney World, or cold medicine – would disproportionately inconvenience those who cannot produce the kind of basic documentation routinely expected from the rest of us. We can’t make serious attempts to control voter fraud, because it would be tough on illegal voters.
Meanwhile, offenses against the voting rights of law-abiding legal citizens must be tolerated without limit, no matter how ridiculous the situation becomes. A man in Albuquerque, New Mexico recently registered his dog as a Democrat voter, without much difficulty. None of the phony information he provided was checked, and the dog swiftly received his voter registration card in the mail. Election officials are furious… at the man, of course, for daring to commit fraud, in the process of demonstrating how easily our antique election system can be defrauded.
Texas, like South Carolina, is suing to get the Justice Department out of their way. If their efforts are successful, we might finally move beyond 45-year-old laws designed to combat a problem that no longer exists, and bring modern technology to bear against a voter fraud problem that does. Perhaps Texas should also allocate some resources to deal with the remarkable number of people who are apparently tooling around on its roads without driver’s licenses.