Texas Voters Are Still Waiting for Justice


The battle over voting rights in Texas entered a new phase as a federal court heard five days of testimony last week over whether the Obama administration has the power to block Gov. Rick Perry’s (R) voter ID bill under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

Lawyers representing the Department of Justice argued the legislation is an attempt by the state’s majority white Republican party to intentionally disadvantage the state’s growing Latino and black communities. According to DOJ lawyers, as many as 1 in 10 Texans could be disenfranchised thanks to the law.

Lawyers for the Perry administration argue the law is necessary to protect against voter fraud. But as Ryan J. Reilly reports, the panel of federal judges appeared critical of much of Texas’ case, including assertions that it should be more burdensome to exercise a fundamental right like voting than to respond to a subpoena in a civil case. The response was after one judge noted that many Texans would have to travel great distances to obtain the proper ID under the law, but that those who live more than 100 miles from a court room can’t be subpoenaed because responding is “unduly burdensome.” Attorneys for Texas quipped that living farther than 120 miles from a DMV to obtain a voter ID was a “reality to life of choosing to live in that part of Texas.”

Their response was similarly glib when addressing the issue of racial discrimination and the law. One judge put the voter ID law in the context of literacy tests and asked Texas if literary tests to vote would violate Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Not surprisingly, attorneys for Texas said no, they would not.

An outcome in the case is expected sometime in August, and many see this challenge as a likely contender for Supreme Court intervention.

Related Stories:

Texas Serves Up Voting Rights Challenge To SCOTUS

DOJ Rejects Texas Voter ID Bill

Photo from bobosh_t via flickr.


Bill Reese
Bill Reese5 years ago

When are we as a nation going to wake up and realize we need an honest ID law to protect our voting rights from being under attack by illegal voters. Who is the illegal voter? The dead, the illegal ailen, the voter who votes twice using different counties. All the parties, Democrats, Republicans, greeen, wigs, etc. should be for a picture ID law to ensure the proper vote.
The military needs to get their absentee ballots out sooner so their people will have their votes counted not like under the Bush election in Florida where they arrived too late and were not counted. Any legal US Citizen should take the responsibility to obtain a picture ID well before the election and then request an absentee ballot if they live too far a way. someone mentioned about a man with an expired Passport was not allowed to vote. What La La land is that writer from? as to obtained a picture Passport you must have a picture ID such as you D rivers license, or state issued ID for people without the D.L. and want to purchase alcohol or Cigarettes. You must have a Picture ID to purchase Food Stamps unless Obama changed the law with an executive order.
If you do not have a picture ID contact your parties Precint Committee person and ask for help that is some of what they do to help their party. If you received a Social Security Card you had a Picture ID, If you are a legal immigrant you have two pieces of picture ID. We are Americans we are not stupid and we fool no one when we say, "I

Becky D.
Becky D5 years ago

Hi Timothy W, thank you for being civilized when speaking to me. I appreciate it. :) I don't see why we can't talk about things here without people getting personal and ugly. I'm a grownup, too, so I don't get carded very often either, but I am required to show my ID for other stuff (I just had to show it at the bank a couple of days ago). But your point is well taken that this little project in Texas may be better tackled AFTER the elections, rather than at this time. The timing is certainly suspect. If it's ultimately an attempt to keep citizens from voting then it's unfair. But even having said that, people have a personal responsibility to do what needs to be done to obtain an appropriate ID. Living too far from a DMV (ride the bus?) is just an excuse. Sometimes things that are important are not easy, but if we're motivated, we figure out a way to make it happen.

reece castellano
reece C5 years ago

Hooray for Texas! Let's get this country back on track. The idea of everyone voting has been a thorne in the side of republicans since Susan B. Anthony and the rights of women to vote. Then of course those democratic huligans who gave blacks the right to vote really screwed things up. No governor Perry is merely trying to make things right. Everyone knows that the only good overnment is a government made up of rich white MEN. Don't believe me, look what a great 8 years we had with George.

Tony C.
Tony C5 years ago

When you try and vote the party of NO out you better make sure that you can vote. Some States have changed their voter registration laws so that even if you wanted to vote you won't be able to. PLEASE CHECK the voter registration laws of the States that you live in NOW, so that you can have the right ID when it comes time to vote. PLEASE tell ALL your friends about this, especially students, seniors, immigrants and the poor. I am sure that the 1% will be flocking to the voting booths so that they can retain their power and money. The 99% had better start THINKING about what will happen if the republicans get in again. For example, no contraceptives which will lead to more people. Right now 7 BILLION PLUS. No abortions even for sick babies, unwanted babies because of rape or incest. No Jobs, undrinkable water because of fracking, war with Iran, no health care. Abstinence programs only, which do not work and many others. Sex Education is needed so that unwanted pregnancy and abortion can be lessened along with STD’S that can KILL your child. So if you don't vote and get as many as you can to vote along with you and the republicans get into power this may and probably will happen. Here is an idea, car pool with a car full to the voting booths (saves gas) and after you vote, have a party and KNOW that you have done your best for your country. Have a designated driver. PLEASE

Marilyn L.
Marilyn L5 years ago

Elizabeth L, I think this is a smart law and one I wish we would adopt here in the USA.

Elizabeth L.
Elizabeth L5 years ago

In Australia every citizen over the age of 18 must register to vote. Voting is compulsory and not voting in an election can lead to a please explain letter and then a fine.I can't imagine any government state or federal attempting to disenfranchising part of the population.

Timothy Wood
Timothy W5 years ago

First of all, Becky D. I understand your confusion so I want to be clear up front...this is not meant to be an attack on you or your ideas. However I can tell you that I am 48, and have not had to show my ID to anyone since the very sweet little old lady at Wal-Mart (for give me) ask to see it over a year ago when I wanted to buy a bottle of wine. Now I live in Missouri so maybe they like checking ID's more in Texas. I am not even opposed to some form of ID law. It sort of makes sense to me. If you are going to vote on American issues you should be American. But to create laws this close to a major election is wrong, It is cleat what the intent is. If they want ID laws let hammer them out immediately after this election, so people effected will have plenty of time to do what they have to. We need to solve the problem but not just to suppress votes. There has to be a better way. Oh and if the individual should prove they have a reason to be voting in the good ole USA, wouldn't it make sense that we know who is financial baking the candidates as well. I don't want china or some rich guy with half his money in other countries buying the vote. If we have Voter ID laws, then we certainly need full Transparency Laws as well.

Marie W.
Marie W5 years ago

With Rick "good Hair No Brains" Perry as Governor- no chance.

Abbe A.
Azaima A5 years ago

Let's stop giving so much weight to elections and work for change elsewhere.

Abbe A.
Azaima A5 years ago