Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Here It Comes, A Voter ID Bill for You and Me

The Texas State Senate is debating today about the Voter ID bill, a moot point, really because the Republicans have enough votes for easy passage in both Houses, particularly because Senate rules have been changed specifically for this red meat conservative issue.

But I really liked the opening debate, about the “constitutionality” of the bill.

A better word, I think, would be legality.

From the Austin American-Statesman:
“[State Sen. Troy] Fraser (the bill’s author) said earlier in the day that the provisions of the bill were carefully researched and will pass a constitutional challenge. ‘There's no question,’ Fraser said.”
The constitutional challenge, it would seem is really an issue with squaring this soon-to-be law with the Voting Rights Act passed way back in 1964. Texas, you see, was on the wrong side of the War of Northern Aggression, a lesson that was not learned as they continued to oppress African-Americans with Jim Crow Laws, laws that prevented black people from voting, among other things.

The Voting Rights Act specifically targets 15 states who have acted poorly in the past, and any state law passed that affects the voting process must be reviewed by the federal Department of Justice.

Fraser points to the voter ID law passed in Indiana, a law that has continued to pass muster in court challenges, all the way up to the US Supreme Court. The Texas bill, Fraser says, is patterned after the Indiana law.

Indiana, however, has one thing going for it that Texas doesn’t: it isn’t one of those 15 exceptional states listed in the VRA.

Well, then there’s Georgia, which also fought on the same side as Texas in the War of Northern Aggression, also had similar laws to persecute their former slaves, and also has a voter ID law. Fraser says he patterned his bill after Georgia’s bill – the Texas bill is even a little more severe, he says.

Fine, except that the Georgia voter ID law has been under review by the Feds and in a recent letter to the Georgia Attorney General, we see that they do have some problems with the Georgia law.
“We have carefully considered the information you have provided, as well as information from interested parties. Under Section 5, the Attorney General must determine whether the submitting authority has met its burden of showing that the proposed change “neither has the purpose nor will have the effect” of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race, color or membership in a language minority group. As discussed further below, I cannot conclude that the state has sustained its burden in this instance. Therefore, based on the information available to us, I must object to the voter verification program on behalf of the Attorney General.”
So talk about a supreme waste of time and taxpayer money. Here we are in a $27 billion deficit and the Senate (and later on, the House) are frittering away their time (and our money) debating a bill whose future is doomed to the waste heap that Jim Crow Laws have been thrown to.

Texans must love it how these guys waste money.


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