Saturday, September 24, 2011

DOJ Stalls on Voter ID Law

It couldn’t be more predictable. The federal Department of Justice just answered on Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s request for preclearance of its recently passed Voter ID law, a necessity since Texas was once in the Confederacy and had statutes in place after Reconstruction that denied African Americans of their constitutional right to vote.

The Voting Rights Act requires all laws that might affect a person’s ability to vote be cleared by the federal government before they may go into effect.

And it seems clear that the DOJ is getting ready to throw a bucket of ice water on this heinous law.

First, they waited until the last possible day to make their reply, and the request for clarification couldn’t be more daunting.

From the Texas Tribune:
The state must now re-submit the request with the additional information that, among others things, describes the federally mandated voter-education program the state will implement, how election officials will be trained to correctly implement SB 14, and more details about the 605,576 registered voters who do not currently possess a valid ID. The department specifically asks the state to identify how many members of that group have Spanish surnames, which counties they reside in and an estimated number by race. The DOJ also requests the Secretary of State provide the number of registered voters in Texas with a Spanish surname who currently possess a legal form of identification.
Finally, they require 60 days to work on this revised proposal once they receive it.

This is the harshest voter ID law in the country. Its intention is completely obvious to even a casual observer. Its intent is to put the Republican Party in power in the state in perpetuity. It specifically targets those who would vote Democratic if they could. The nature and detail of the DOJ’s request makes it clear to me that this is what they suspect as well.

And the fact that this law was part of Rick Perry’s “emergency legislation” in this past legislative session should make for great theater in the presidential debates. But I wonder which candidate, if any, would bring it up.

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