Texas Voter ID Law: SCOTUS Won’t Hear It

This is the same law we keep hearing about. Texas is determined to have it decided one way or the other. In the last chapter of this saga I reported that the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans said that the Texas voter-identification law discriminates against blacks and Hispanics, and ordered that temporary remedies be put in place by the November election.

On Monday (January 23), The Supreme Court rejected  the appeal from Texas officials seeking to restore the state’s voter ID law.

“Chief Justice Roberts made it very clear that the case will be an even stronger posture for Supreme Court review after further proceedings in lower courts,” Ken Paxton said in a statement. “Texas enacted a common sense voter ID law to safeguard the integrity of our elections, and we will continue to fight for the law.”

Source: New York Times.

So, we haven’t seen the end yet. Back to the lower courts (drawing board).

Texas Voter ID Law and the 2016 Election

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans said the [Texas Voter ID] law violates the Voting Rights Act.

On July 20, a federal appeals court found a Texas voter-identification law discriminates against blacks and Hispanics, and ordered that temporary remedies be put in place by the November election. Source: Wall Street Journal.

This is the same 5th Circuit Court that I wrote about last year (and the year before last) allowed Texas to keep the law because it was too close to elections to change it. Apparently, a couple weeks makes the difference in being too close to an election. The election is now 109 days away.

The lower court hasn’t fixed it in 2 years, so I don’t see them doing much with it now. They may follow the Wisconsin example and accept affidavits from affected voters who swear they can’t get a photo ID.

You’re hearing it here first: I predict someone will go to Mexico and “collect” a lot of signed affidavits from people that are unable to get government IDs. That’s right up there with the dead voting.

Yeah, there’s no room for fraud in an affidavit system.

Voter ID’s and Elections

8-6--8-12-forcastAs we enter the hottest days of of the year – the forecast calls for at least 7 days of 100+ F temperatures – the arguments of last year’s election and the Texas Voter ID law is starting to heat up too.

To recap, last year I wrote in Voter ID Law in Texas:

On Tuesday, October 14, the Texas GOP successfully appealed the blocked law.

The ruling by a three-judge panel of the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals allows the law to be used in the November election, despite a lower judge’s ruling that the law is unconstitutional. The 5th Circuit did not rule on the law’s merits; instead, it determined it’s too late to change the rules for the election. Source abcnews.com

They said while it may cause harm to some voters, the greater harm would come from disrupting the election statewide.

Yesterday, the same 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Texas law “runs afoul of parts of the federal Voting Right Act…”

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the 2011 Texas law runs afoul of parts of the federal Voting Rights Act – handing down the decision on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the landmark civil rights law. Source: AP.org

However, the court sent the law back to the lower courts to fix the discriminatory effects. Ken Paxton, Texas Attorney General, said the law will stand. Ironically, he’s currently under indictment for felony securities fraud. Suffice it to say, this issue isn’t finished.


First-GOP-debate-2015Speaking of things heating up, the 2016 presidential election, which is 459 days away, is getting started with the first GOP debate tonight – brought to you by (they chose 10 debaters based on the highest average of 5 polls) and broadcasted on Fox News. The 10 are Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Chris Christie and John Kasich. The number of potential GOP candidates is overwhelming – something like 39 have declared!

With all the drama, this is starting to look like a reality tv show: Survivor or Big Brother or America’s Got Talent. “Retiring” Jon Stewart said it best on his show last night, “[Fox News] will decide the next leader of the free world…WTF is going on here!”

I have a feeling this election is going to be colossal – colossally expensive, and a colossal waste of time on commercials. Hillary Clinton (don’t get me started) is going to start running ads this week. Did I mention we’re 459 days away from the election.

UPDATE:

20150820-deeznutsA surging Independent candidate, Deez Nuts, is taking the polls – and the world – by storm. A 15-year-old boy from Iowa registered as a candidate under the name Deez Nuts, and the Internet loves him. The name trended on Twitter for a day. Everybody wants to know more about him. His real name is Brady Olsen.

This picture is a screen shot from the coverage of the North Carolina poll held August 20, 2015.

Voter ID Law in Texas

In 2011 the Texas state legislature passed a voter ID law which said voters had to present a government issued (picture) identification in order to vote in person; they wanted to prevent voter fraud. This year Democrats successfully appealed to have the law blocked; the judge said it was a poll tax.

U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos, an appointee of President Barack Obama confirmed to the bench in 2011,  struck down Texas’ voter ID law on Thursday [10/9], calling it an “unconstitutional poll tax” intended to discriminate against Hispanic and African-American citizens that creates “an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote.” Source: The Huffington Post

As I see it there are two types of burdens: physical and financial. Physically, there are people who don’t drive and/or don’t need picture identification: elderly, poor, big-city dwellers, and college students. Also, there are people in rural areas unable to get to a identification office. These are all legitimate reasons not to have identification.

There are several aspects of financial burden, but I’ll just say I think the State can issue voter ID without driver’s licence – free of charge. If not, they should. This reason is less of a reason not to have a licence/ID.

In that same article, Ryan P. Haygood, an attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, said the law imposes costs and burdens:

“The evidence in this case demonstrated that the law, like its poll tax ancestor, imposes real costs, and unjustified, disparate burdens on the voting rights of more than 600,000 registered Texas voters, a substantial percentage of whom are voters of color.”

 

Let’s Do Some Math

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, before the 2012 election there was 235 million people 18+ years of age, 215 million citizens (18+ years of age), and 143 million registered voters (65% of voting age population). If the NPR news story Why Millions of Americans Have No Government ID is accurate, then there were 3 million Americans without government ID in 2012; assuming they are citizens 18+ years of age. That’s 1.4% of citizens able to vote. That’s not a lot, but still, every American has the right to vote.

We read/hear stories about how these few people want to vote – try to vote – but get denied because they don’t have acceptable identification. The whole point of showing ID (aside from showing a voter ID card) is to show proof of residency and prevent multiple votes. They don’t want people voting in the wrong district or voting at several polling places.

Taxation For Different Reasons

Recently some have said, and I tend to agree, that the Revolutionary War cry, “No taxation without representation!” has a corollary, “No representation without taxation!” Early American history (sort of) had it this way. When the country was founded, in most states, only white men with property – paying property tax – were permitted to vote; freed African American slaves could vote in four states. Times have changed and more groups of people have been allowed to vote, but the idea of tax payers should be voters remains.

I believe those of us that pay taxes should have a say in how it’s spent (e.g. electing people we think will spend it wisely). If you don’t pay taxes you should not have a say in how other peoples’ money is spent.

Latest Development

On Tuesday, October 14, the Texas GOP successfully appealed the blocked law.

The ruling by a three-judge panel of the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals allows the law to be used in the November election, despite a lower judge’s ruling that the law is unconstitutional. The 5th Circuit did not rule on the law’s merits; instead, it determined it’s too late to change the rules for the election. Source abcnews.com

They said while it may cause harm to some voters, the greater harm would come from disrupting the election statewide.

The NAACP vowed to appeal this appeal to the US Supreme court.

On Saturday, October 18, the Supreme Court allowed Texas to use its voter id law in the November election. They gave no reasoning. Justice Ginsburg – along with justices Sotomayor and Kagan – issued a six-page dissent. (Source: nytimes.com)

We haven’t seen the end of this argument. There will be more legal battles and appeals.

So, in the end, I showed my driver’s licence that I paid $25 for, and I voted early.

All Texas amendments passed

So how did we do.

My record was
#1 (HJR 103)-Yea, Amendment #2 (SJR 57)-Nae, Amendment #3 (HJR 40)-Nae, Amendment #4 (SJR 65)-Nae, Amendment #5 (SJR 44)-Nae, Amendment #6 (HJR 54)-Nae, Amendment #7 (HJR 30)-Yea, Amendment #8 (HJR 72)-Yea, Amendment #9 (SJR 29)-Nae, Amendment #10 (HJR 69)-Yea, Amendment #11 (HJR 19)-Yea, Amendment #12 (SJR 64)-Nae, Amendment #13 (HJR 6)-Nae, Amendment #14 (HJR 36)-Yea, Amendment #15 (HJR 90)-Nae, Amendment #16 (SJR 20)-Yea.

I was against only 8% of register voters voting 9 of 16 or 56%. That’s sad that only 8% of voters turned up yesterday. Well it’s 366 days to the presidental election (2008 is a leap year).