My home state of Texas was in the spotlight last week over its lawsuit against the Justice Department’s blocking of its voter ID law. Since Texas has a history of voter suppression, it needs Justice Department approval under the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to adopt any changes in its election laws. My question to the Republican Attorneys General and Governors out there (Greg Abbott of Texas in particular) is this: What is the problem you are trying to solve with your new voting requirements?
“Even using the data most favorable to the state, Hispanics disproportionately lack either a driver’s license or a personal identification card,” Thomas Perez, head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division, wrote in a letter to Keith Ingram, director of elections for the Texas secretary of state….
Attorney General Eric Holder told the NAACP last week that Texas’s new law is equivalent to a poll tax and indicated that the Justice Department “will not allow political pretexts to disenfranchise American citizens of their most precious right.” He is right. If you are among the 25% of African-Americans eligible to vote or 8% of eligible whites nationwide, according to Holder, then you will need to cough up some money if you want to buy the ID you will need under this law to exercise your constitutional right to vote. Why? Because Texas does not waive ID fees that you would have to pay to get the documents you would need in order to vote. The State Legislature just recently struck down a measure that would have done just that. If this is about protecting the integrity of our elections, as so many Republicans have claimed, and not about locking up more electoral votes for Romney, then why would the State of Texas both require you to show ID AND at the same time charge you for obtaining it
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