The U.S. Supreme court in its (in)famous Voting Rights Act ruling gave Texas a green light to legislate voter suppression, and here Texas most assuredly goes:
Texas’s new voter ID law got off to a rocky start this week as early voting began for state constitutional amendments. The law was previously blocked as discriminatory by the federal courts under the Voting Rights Act in 2012, until the Supreme Court invalidated Section 4 of the VRA in June. (The Department of Justice has filed suit against the law under Section 2 of the VRA.) Now we are seeing the disastrous ramifications of the Supreme Court’s decision.
Based on Texas’ own data, 600,000 to 800,000 registered voters don’t have the government-issued ID needed to cast a ballot, with Hispanics 46 to 120 percent more likely than whites to lack an ID. But a much larger segment of the electorate, particularly women, will be impacted by the requirement that a voter’s ID be “substantially similar” to their name on the voter registration rolls. According to a 2006 study by the Brennan Center for Justice, a third of all women have citizenship documents that do not match their current legal name.
The Nation’s Ari Berman also points us to this amazing story: a Texas female JUDGE who suddenly found that after many years she’s now having trouble voting.
This is all part of pattern in many states with Republican dominated legislatures: because the Republican Party is not expanding its tent, and its dominant Tea Party faction has made it clear it wants bouncers to throw many out of the tent, it’s working almost overtime in many states to keep groups that tend to vote Democratic from voting. The Washington Post, in an editorial points to GOP efforts in Arizona and Kansas and says this:
Nothing frightens today’s Republican Party quite like the voters. Before the 2012 elections, GOP lawmakers in statehouses across the country tightened voter identification laws with one goal in common: to suppress turnout on Election Day among likely Democratic voters, especially minorities and the poor. It didn’t work.
Now, harking back to the days of Jim Crow, they are at it again.
The law in Texas and the laws elsewhere conceivably could work, but I suspect in this age of social media and the Internet there will be grave consquences for GOPers who enact these laws – -and that Democratic Party lawyers and members groups that work for the interest of women and minorities will make sure their voters do what it takes to vote.
They don’t stay young forever.
And something tells me the Republican Party will one day regret having made it tough or almost impossible for students to vote. That’ll be the the day when students are no longer students. They party risks alienating an entire generation by targeting them when The Dems won’t let students forget who it is who’s trying to make it tougher for them to vote. And students have a quick and enduring learning curve.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.