Terrible Trifecta

On Friday, September 18, 2020, US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dead at age 87 – just 45 days before Election Day – thus leaving a power vacuum in the highest court of the land. (There are now 5 conservative and 3 liberal justices.) Thus the stage is set for a terrible trifecta: a Supreme Court battle, a contentious presidential election, and a worsening (COVID-19) pandemic.

The 2020 Primary Election

The schedule for Democratic and Republican primaries and caucuses is very confusing and convoluted. A good place to start is with Frontloading HQ.


Coronavirus Updates

Starting March 15, 2020, the United States did something unprecedented (in modern times) – every non-essential worker was told/ordered to stay-at-home and/or work-from-home. This included primary workers. So, as a result, many states’ primaries were rescheduled.

The 2020 Democratic National Convention which was scheduled to take place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on July 13-16, 2020, was delayed to August 17-20 due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

Democratic presidential primaries that were rescheduled/canceled:

PrimaryOriginalNewVote in person
OhioMarch 17April 28Cancelled
GeorgiaMarch 24June 9Scheduled
Puerto RicoMarch 29TBDTBA
AlaskaApril 4April 10Cancelled
WyomingApril 4April 17Cancelled
HawaiiApril 4May 22Cancelled
LouisianaApril 4July 11Scheduled
MarylandApril 28June 2Scheduled
ConnecticutApril 28August 11Scheduled
Rhode IslandApril 28June 2Scheduled
DelawareApril 28June 2Scheduled
PennsylvaniaApril 28June 2Scheduled
New YorkApril 28June 23
GuamMay 2TBDTBA
KansasMay 2May 2Cancelled
IndianaMay 5June 2Scheduled
West VirginiaMay 12June 9Scheduled
KentuckyMay 19June 23Scheduled
New JerseyJune 2July 7Scheduled

The 2020 Republican National Convention will be held from August 24 to 27, 2020, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Republican presidential primaries were rescheduled:

  • The Ohio primary was rescheduled from March 17, 2020, to June 2, 2020. It was later rescheduled again from June 2 to April 28.
  • The Georgia primary was rescheduled from March 24, 2020, to May 19, 2020. It was later rescheduled again from May 19 to June 9.
  • The Louisiana primary was rescheduled from April 4, 2020, to June 20, 2020.
  • The Connecticut primary was rescheduled from April 28 to June 2.
  • The Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island primaries were rescheduled from April 28, 2020, to June 2, 2020.
  • The Indiana primary was rescheduled from May 5, 2020, to June 2, 2020.
  • The West Virginia primary was rescheduled from May 12, 2020, to June 9, 2020.
  • The Kentucky primary was rescheduled from May 19, 2020, to June 23, 2020.
  • The New Jersey primary was rescheduled from June 2, 2020 to July 7, 2020.
  • The Ohio primary was rescheduled from March 17, 2020, to June 2, 2020. was later rescheduled again from June 2 to April 28.
  • The Georgia primary was rescheduled from March 24, 2020, to May 19, 2020.[228] It was later rescheduled again from May 19 to June 9.
  • The Louisiana primary was rescheduled from April 4, 2020, to June 20, 2020.[237] It was later rescheduled again from June 20 to July 11.[209]
  • The Connecticut primary was rescheduled from April 28 to June 2.[205] It was later rescheduled a second time to August 11.[210]
  • The Delaware, Maryland,[238] Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island primaries were rescheduled from April 28, 2020, to June 2, 2020.
  • The Indiana primary was rescheduled from May 5, 2020, to June 2, 2020.
  • The West Virginia primary was rescheduled from May 12, 2020, to June 9, 2020.
  • The Kentucky primary was rescheduled from May 19, 2020, to June 23, 2020.[239]
  • The New Jersey primary was rescheduled from June 2, 2020 to July 7, 2020.[240]

The Democratic candidates are Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Tom Steyer, Amy Klobuchar, Tulsi Gabbard, Michael Bennet, John Delaney, Deval Patrick and Andrew Yang.

The Republican candidates are Donald Trump, Bill Weld, Rocky De La Fuente, Mark Sanford and Joe Walsh.

February 3

Iowa caucuses took place on February 3, 2020, but there wasn’t a clear Democratic winner because a new application (mobile app) failed to tally and report the votes correctly.

Monday night’s Iowa caucuses dragged on into the early hours of Tuesday with no clear Democratic winner declared, and the New York Times reported that a brand-new, untested mobile app designed in just two months was at least partially to blame for the holdup in results.

Source: Forbes

The Iowa Democratic Party (IDP) – the folks who commissioned the app – promised to have the majority of results published by 5 PM (ET) today.

On February 9, 2020, Iowa finally allotted Pete 14 delegates, Bernie 12, Elizabeth 8, Joe 6, and Amy 1, out of 41 for the Democratic caucus. For the Republican caucus, Donald got 39 and Bill got 1, out of 40.

Both Pete and Bernie requested a recount, which (completed Feb. 27) didn’t change the results, and it was finally certified by the IDP on February 29.

Withdrawals Before the Primaries

Democratic candidates who withdrew before the Primaries started: Beto O’Rourke, Bill de Blasio, Cory Booker, Eric Swalwell, Jay Inslee, Joe Sestak, John Delaney, John Hickenlooper, Julián Castro, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Marianne Williamson, Mike Gravel, Richard Ojeda, Seth Moulton, Steve Bullock, Tim Ryan, Wayne Messam. Source: Wikipedia.

Republican candidates who withdrew before (or shortly after) the Primaries started: Joe Walsh, Mark Sanford. Source: Wikipedia.

February 11

New Hampshire primary results: Bernie 9, Pete 9, Amy 6, out of 24 total. For Republicans, Donald 22, out of 22 total.

Today, after the NH primary, Michael Bennet and Andrew Yang dropped out. On February 12, Deval Patrick suspended his campaign.

February 22

Nevada caucus results: Bernie 24, Joe 9, Pete 3, out of 36 available. For Republicans, they cancelled their caucus so Donald presumably gets all 25 delegates.

Side note: Michael Bloomberg (billionaire, former mayor of New York) qualified for the debate in Nevada (Feb. 19), but he was not on the ballot. He’s trying to buy his way in.

February 29

Happy Leap Day! South Carolina (D) primary results: Joe 39, Bernie 15 out of 54 delegates.

On March 1, Pete dropped out and gave his support to Joe.

On March 2, Amy dropped out and gave her support to Joe. Beto also gave his support to Joe.

March 3

“Super Tuesday” is primary/caucus day for Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia (D), and American Samoa (D).

If you’re keeping count, going into Super Tuesday, Bernie 60, Joe 54, Elizabeth 8, and Michael 0.

In Texas early voting starts February 18. If needed, the primary election runoff day will be May 26, 2020.

Texas has 228 Democratic delegates and 155 Republican delegates. 1283 The results for Texas are Joe 111, Bernie 102, Michael 10, Elizabeth 5 out of 228 Democratic delegates. For Republicans, Donald 117 of 155 total.

Nationally, the totals so far are Joe 596, Bernie 531, Elizabeth 65, Michael 58, Pete 26, Amy 7, and Tulsi 1.

After spending $500+ million Michael Bloomberg dropped out on March 4. Bernie announced on March 4 that he will drop out if “Biden gets plurality” going into Democratic convention. On March 5, Elizabeth Warren withdrew from the race. This leaves Joe, Bernie, and Tulsi is still running.

UPDATE: It looks like Texas is headed for primary runoff elections on July 14.

Here are the races in Texas as of July 1.
President Democratic candidate:
Joe Biden
President Republican candidate:
Donald Trump
US Senate Democratic candidates:
Mary Jennings Hegar
Royce West
US Senate Republican candidate:
John Cornyn (incumbent)
U.S. House of Representatives (District 17) Democratic candidates:
Rick Kennedy
David Jaramillo
U.S. House of Representatives (District 17) Republican candidates:
Pete Sessions
Renee Swann
Texas House of Representatives (District 14) Democratic candidate:
Janet Dudding
Texas House of Representatives (District 14) Republican candidate:
John Raney (incumbent)
Railroad Commissioner Democratic candidates:
Chrysta Castañeda
Roberto “Beto” Alonzo
Railroad Commissioner Democratic candidate:
James “Jim” Wright

Texas Candidates

U.S. Senate (Texas)
Democratic Party candidates
Chris Bell
Michael Cooper
Amanda Edwards
Jack Daniel Foster Jr.
Annie Garcia
Victor Harris
Mary Jennings Hegar
Sema Hernandez
D. R. Hunter
Adrian Ocegueda
Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez
Royce West

Republican Party candidates
John Cornyn (incumbent)
Virgil Bierschwale
John Castro
Dwayne Stovall
Mark Yancey

Independent candidates
Ricardo Turullols-Bonilla

U.S. House of Representatives (District 17 Texas)*
Democratic Party candidates
William Foster III
David Jaramillo
Rick Kennedy

Republican Party candidates
Ahmad Adnan
Scott Bland
Laurie Godfrey McReynolds
George Hindman
Todd Kent
Kristen Alamo Rowin
David Saucedo
Pete Sessions
Trent Sutton
Renee Swann
Elianor Vessali

Libertarian candidates
Ted Brown

*Bill Flores (R) is stepping down

Texas Governor
Greg Abbott (R) – Next election is 2022

Texas Lieutenant Governor
Dan Patrick (R) – Next election is 2022

Texas Attorney General
Ken Paxton (R) – Next election is 2022

Texas Senate (District 5)
Charles Schwertner (R) – Next election is 2022

Texas House of Representatives (District 14)
Democratic Party candidates
Janet Dudding
Raza Rahman

Republican Party candidates
John Raney (incumbent)

Comptroller of Public Accounts
Glenn Hegar (R) – Next election 2022

Commissioner of the General Land Office
George P. Bush (R) – Next election 2022

Commissioner of Agriculture
Sid Miller (R) – Next election 2022

Railroad Commissioner
Democratic Party candidates
Chrysta Castañeda
Roberto “Beto” Alonzo
Kelly Stone
Mark Watson

Republican Party candidates
Ryan Sitton (incumbent)
James Wright

Libertarian Party candidates
Matt Sterett
Charlie Stevens

Read More

March 10

Democrats Abroad (D), Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota (D), and Washington primary results: Joe 177+, Bernie 111+ out of 352 delegates; Washington was still counting as of Wednesday at noon.

March 14

Northern Mariana Islands (D), and Guam (R)

March 15

Northern Mariana Islands (R)

March 17

Arizona (D), Florida, Illinois, and Ohio.

March 18

American Samoa (R)

One March 19, 2020, Tulsi dropped out and endorsed Joe Biden.

March 24

Georgia (postponed to May 19)

March 29

Puerto Rico (D) and North Dakota (R) primary results: ND Republicans cancelled election, Trump got 29 out of 29 delegates; PR is TBD.

April 4

Alaska, Hawaii (D), Louisiana, and Wyoming (D)

April 7

Democrats warn people will die as courts rule Wisconsin’s election on for Tuesday Source: NBC News

Wisconsin results: Joe 58, Bernie 13, out of 84 Democratic delegates. Donald 52 out of 52 Republican delegates.

On April 8, Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign.

April 28

Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.

May 2

Guam (D), Kansas (D), Virginia (R), and South Carolina (R)

May 5

Indiana

May 9

Arizona (R), and Wyoming (R)

May 12

Nebraska, and West Virginia

May 19

Georgia, Kentucky, and Oregon

May 30

United States Virgin Islands (R)

June 2

District of Columbia, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota

June 6

United States Virgin Islands (D)

June 7

Puerto Rico (R)

The 2018 Primary Election in Texas

The Primary Election this year is March 6 (early voting starts February 20, in 2 weeks), and the General Election will be November 6 (early voting starts October 22). So far it’s a pretty quiet election – no hotly contested seats; Ted Cruz might have to campaign to keep his seat in the Senate.

UPDATE: More than 30 races are headed to runoffs on May 22. I think I’m eligible to vote for one: Lupe Valdez (D) and Andrew White (D) for governor. Source: Texas Tribune.

U.S. Senate (Texas)

  • Ted Cruz (R) – incumbent
  • Geraldine Sam (R)
  • Mary Miller (R)
  • Bruce Jacobson, Jr. (R)
  • Stefano de Stefano (R)
  • Beto O’Rourke (D)
  • Edward Kimbrough (D)
  • Sema Hernandez (D)

U.S. House of Representatives (District 17 Texas)

  • Bill Flores (R) – incumbent
  • Rick Kennedy (D)
  • Dale Mantey (D)

Texas Governor

  • Greg Abbott (R) – incumbent
  • Barbara Krueger (R)
  • Larry “Secede” Kilgore (R)
  • James Jolly Clark (D)
  • Cedric Davis (D)
  • Joe Mumbach (D)
  • Adrian Ocegueda (D)
  • Jeffrey Payne (D)
  • Lupe Valdez (D)
  • Tom Wakely (D)
  • Andrew White (D)
  • Grady Yarbrough (D)

Texas Lieutenant Governor

  • Dan Patrick (R) – incumbent
  • Scott Milder (R)
  • Mike Collier (D)
  • Michael Cooper (D)

Texas Attorney General

Texas Senate (District 5)

  • Charles Schwertner (R) – incumbent
  • Harold Ramm (R)
  • Glenn “Grumpy” Williams (D)
  • Brian E. Cronin (D)
  • Meg Walsh (D)

Texas House of Representatives (District 14)

  • John Raney (R) – incumbent
  • Jeston Texeira (R)
  • Sarah Laningham (R)
  • Rick Davis (R)
  • Josh Wilkinson (D)
  • Alex Vidal (D)

Comptroller of Public Accounts

  • Glenn Hegar (R) – incumbent
  • Tim Mahoney (D)
  • Joi Chevalier (D)

Commissioner of the General Land Office

  • George P. Bush (R) – incumbent
  • Davey Edwards (R)
  • Jerry Patterson (R)
  • Rick Range (R)
  • Tex Morgan (D)
  • Miguel Suazo (D)

Commissioner of Agriculture

  • Sid Miller (R) – incumbent
  • Trey Blocker (R)
  • Jim Hogan (R)
  • Kim Olson (D)

Railroad Commissioner

  • Christi Craddick (R) – incumbent
  • Weston Martinez (R)
  • Chris Spellmon (D)
  • Roman McAllen (D)

District Judge, (Texas) 85th Judicial District

  • Kyle Hawthorne (R) – incumbent

District Judge, (Texas) 272nd Judicial District

  • Travis B. Bryan III (R) – Next election 2020

District Judge, (Texas) 361st Judicial District

  • Steve Smith (R) – incumbent

District Attorney – Brazos County

  • Jarvis Parsons (R) – Next election 2020

Sheriff – Brazos County

  • Chris Kirk – Next election 2020

Read More

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.

The 2016 Primary Election in Texas

The date for the 2016 Primary election in Texas is March 1. Early voting is February 16 – 26.

Here’s a look at who’s on the ballot in Brazos County, Texas.

Asterisk (*) indicates incumbent. Strikethrough indicates withdrawn/drop-out.

President/Vice President

  • Martin J. O’Malley (D)
  • Star Locke (D)
  • Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente (D)
  • Bernie Sanders (D)
  • Calvis L. Hawes (D)
  • Willie L. Wilson (D)
  • Keith Judd (D)
  • Hillary Clinton (D)
  • Lincoln Chafee (D)
  • Lawrence Lessig (D)
  • Jim Webb (D)

U.S. House of Representatives (District 17)

  • Bill Flores (R)*
  • Ralph Patterson (R)
  • Kaleb Sims (R)
  • William Matta (D)

Texas House of Representatives (District 14)

  • John Raney (R)*
  • Jess Fields (R)

Texas Supreme Court

Place 3

  • Debra Lehrmann (R)
  • Michael Massengale (R)
  • Mike Westergren (D)

Place 5

  • Rick Green (R)
  • Paul Green (R)
  • Dori Contreras Garza (D)

Place 9

  • Eva Guzman (R)
  • Joe Pool (R)
  • Savannah Robinson (D)

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

Place 2

  • Mary Lou Keel (R)
  • Chris Oldner (R)
  • Ray Wheless (R)
  • Lawrence “Larry” Meyers (D)

Place 5

  • Sid Harle (R)
  • Steve Smith (R)
  • Scott Walker (R)
  • Brent Webster (R)
  • Betsy Johnson (D)

Place 6

  • Michael E. Keasler (R)
  • Richard Davis (R)
  • Robert Burns (D)

Texas Courts of Appeals (District 10)

Place 3

  • Al Scoggins (R)

Comptroller of Public Accounts

  • Debra Medina (R)
  • Glenn Hegar (R)*
  • Harvey Hilderbran (R)
  • Raul Torres (R)
  • Mike Collier (D)

Commissioner of the General Land Office

  • George P. Bush (R)*
  • David Watts (R)
  • John Cook (D)

Commissioner of Agriculture

  • Sid Miller (R)*
  • Eric Opiela (R)
  • J. Allen Carnes (R)
  • Joe Cotten (R)
  • Tommy Merritt (R)
  • Hugh Asa Fitzsimons III (D)
  • Jim Hogan (D)
  • Richard “Kinky” Friedman (D)

Railroad Commissioner

  • Weston Martinez (R)
  • John Greytok (R)
  • Gary Gates (R)
  • Ron Hale (R)
  • Lance N. Christian (R)
  • Wayne Christian (R)
  • Doug Jeffrey (R)
  • Lon Burnam (D)
  • Cody Garrett (D)
  • Grady Yarbrough (D)

Texas State Board of Education Member (District 8)

  • Barbara Cargill (R)*

District Courts – Brazos County

272nd District Court Judge

  • Travis Bryan III (R)*

85th District Attorney – Brazos County

  • Jarvis Parsons (R)*

Sheriff – Brazos County

  • Chris Kirk (R)*
  • Miguel C. Vasquez (R)

Tax Assessor-Collector

  • Kristeen Roe (R)*

County Commissioner Pct. 1

  • Lloyd Wassermann (R)*
  • Steve Aldrich (R)

County Commissioner Pct. 3

  • Gabriel Garcia (R)
  • Nancy Berry (R)

 Read More

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.

2014 Election Results, Who Represents Brazos County Texas

Refer to my earlier post about the 2014 Primary/Election for candidates of this midterm election. This is a small list of the people that represent Brazos County Texas.

U.S. President – Next Election 2016

U.S. Senate (Texas)

U.S. House of Representatives (District 17 Texas)

Texas Senate (District 5)

Texas House of Representatives (District 14)

District Attorney – Brazos County

Read More

I Voted in the Midterm Election or The Big Yawn

And the winners are (the Republicans of course):

United States

Senator: John Cornyn

Representative (District 17): Bill Flores

Texas

Governor: Greg Abbott

Lieutenant Governor: Dan Patrick

Attorney General: Ken Paxton

Senator (District 5): Charles Schwertner

Representative (District 14): John Raney

Comptroller of Public Accounts: Glenn Hegar

Commissioner of the General Land Office: George P. Bush

Commissioner of Agriculture: Sid Miller

Railroad Commissioner: Ryan Sitton

Chief Justice, Supreme Court: Nathan Hecht

Supreme Court, Place 6: Jeff Brown

Supreme Court, Place 7: Jeff Boyd

Supreme Court, Place 8: Phil Johnson

Criminal Appeals Court Place 3: Bert Richardson

Criminal Appeals Court Place 4: Kevin Yeary

Criminal Appeals Court Place 9: David Newell

10th Court of Appeals Place 2: Rex Davis

85th District Judge: Kyle Hawthorne

361st District Judge: Steve Smith

Brazos County

County Judge: Duane Peters

County Court at Law #1: Amanda Matzke

County Court at Law #2: Jim Locke

District Clerk: Marc Hamlin

County Clerk: Karen McQueen

County Treasurer: Laura Davis

County Commissioner Precinct 4: Irma Cauley (D)

Justice of the Peace #4: Louis Garcia

Constable Precinct 4: Isaac Butler (D)

Texas Propositions

Proposition 1 – Transportation Funds: Passed

City of Bryan Propositions

Charter Amendment, Proposition 1: Passed

Charter Amendment, Proposition 2: Passed

Charter Amendment, Proposition 3: Passed

Bryan ISD

Voters in Bryan approve a $132 million bond proposal.

The money will be used to build a pair new school buildings and make improvements to every school in the district, including security and heating and air conditioning.

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.