Completely Discriminatory

10 Jul

photo ID = poll tax.JPG The state of Texas and the Department of Justice (DOJ) will start presenting evidence to a special three-judge panel in Washington, D.C. in a trial concerning Texas’ controversial law that requires a voter to present a photo ID.

Texas sued the U.S. Justice Department in Washington’s federal district court in January, seeking a declaration from the court to allow the state to implement a photo ID law that critics call one of the most restrictive in the country. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. has made fighting voter discrimination a hallmark of the department’s Civil Rights Division.

Texas has the burden at trial to prove that its voter ID bill, signed into law last year, does not have the purpose or effect to deny a minority citizen the right to vote. The vast majority of registered voters already have a photo ID, an attorney for Texas, Adam Mortara, told the judicial special panel today.

A decision would also impact similar legislation and efforts in Florida, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania. In Michigan, a Republican governor vetoed three measures.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has vetoed voter ID bills that his fellow Republicans call an attempt to crack down on voter fraud, and critics characterize as a move to disenfranchise minority groups.

Snyder on Tuesday rejected H.B. 5061 and S.B. 803 – both sponsored by Republican members of the Michigan Legislature – which would have required voters to prove U.S. citizenship in order to receive a ballot and a photo ID to pick up an absentee ballot.

The governor said that while he “appreciates the issue of ensuring voters are eligible and U.S. citizens,” the measures could create “voter confusion among absentee voters.”

(…)
The third bill Snyder vetoed was S.B. 754, which would have required training for those involved in voter registration. The governor said he feared the new training would muddle ongoing voter registration efforts.

Mike Nichols argues that Republicans’ “concern” for voter fraud is strikingly uncharacteristic for a party that historically has been “…far more concerned than the Democratic Party with the vital work of expanding the franchise.”
Pennsylvania is huge. As you mentioned, it’s going to be a very major swing state. There was just a study released last week that said that 758,000 Pennsylvanians may lack the ID needed to vote. That’s 10 percent of statewide voters, but what’s most interesting, 18 percent of people in Philadelphia don’t have that ID. Philadelphia is the Democratic and progressive hub of the state. It’s 44 percent African American. So you’re looking again at a case where voter ID is carried out in such a way that’s disproportionately going to impact Democratic and progressive-leaning voters, and it’s going to make it a lot harder to vote in the next election. The number of people in Pennsylvania without ID is larger than the margin of victory for Barack Obama in 2008 in the state.
Whatever happened to the days when white supremacists just bribed African-American churches? Today’s racists are just cheap.

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