Voting Laws

1:36pm March 14, 2012

Voter ID Puts Texas On Its Own … For Now


This week the U.S. Department of Justice put Texas on notice, rejecting its controversial voting measure requiring a valid state-issued photo identification card to vote. According to documents provided by the state of Texas, as many as 795,955 registered voters in Texas do not have a state issued driver’s license, while at least 603,892 voters do not possess a license.

And the Lone Star State’s Voter ID law is considered one of the more stringent in the nation.

It’s been argued that Latino voters in Texas are disproportionately affected by the lack of driver’s licenses. Hence, the reason behind DOJ’s reluctance to approve it. “According to the state’s own data, a Hispanic registered voter is at least 46.5%, and potentially 120 percent, more likely than a non-Hispanic registered voter to lack this identification,” Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez stated in a letter addressed to the Texas Elections Director. “Even using the data most favorable to the state, Hispanics disproportionately lack either a driver’s license or a personal identification card issued by DPS, and that disparity is statistically significant.”

So before the State of Texas could implement a law that would effectively disenfranchise thousands of voters, the DOJ slammed on the brakes. But the fight is not yet over, as a federal court in Washington, D.C. will now have to decide whether the law can be enforced. The Voting Rights Act gave the federal government the power to examine changes in voting procedures in states and jurisdictions with a history of voter discrimination, which is why the Texas law came under scrutiny.

Politic365 spoke with Lydia Camarillo, the Vice President of the Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project about the DOJ’s rejection of the Texas voter identification law for some perspective.

“We have a problem in Texas — the state doesn’t have enough offices and the resources to provide all of those voters without the proper identification with those photo IDs,” argued Camarillo. “What they (the state) are proposing, they don’t have the capacity to do. How is an ID for possession of a gun acceptable to vote but a student ID isn’t?”

If you are older and no longer drive, you may not have a license. If you live in a rural county and do not drive, going to the nearest motor vehicle office could be costly and inconvenient. If you switch bags and leave an identification card in a different handbag, you could show up to the polls and only be given a provisional ballot and then have to provide valid identification within six days after the election. In essence, the state of Texas has created a major roadblock to voting for Texans with fewer resources to enforce the law.

“These new voting rights laws that are popping up around the country are merely a tactic to circumvent the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and apply a modern-day poll tax,” says Melanie L. Campbell, President and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. “The Texas voter ID law would have put an unfair burden on poor, minority and disabled voters, students and senior citizens and could have resulted in preventing thousands of citizens from exercising their right to vote.”

Finally, incidents of voter fraud in Texas are minimal, and none of the cases found would have been affected by a voter identification requirement. Camarillo points out that the Texas Attorney General spent one million dollars trying to find a case to illustrate a problem with voter fraud that identification would have remedied – and his office found none. So Texas’s updated poll tax disguised as a voter identification law isn’t really solving a problem, it’s just adding an additional burden on voters and ultimately the government, which would have to generate more photo identifications.  That comes with a price.

About the Author

Adriana Maestas
Adriana Maestas is the senior contributing editor of Politic365.com. The ideas and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author, and have complete editorial independence from any Politic365 partners, sponsors, or advertisers. For additional information about Politic365, please visit http://politic365.com/about/.


a-Obama UN _0

American Business Act on Climate Pledge Important Step for Energy Future

Tackling the negative affects of climate change has been a top-line priority for the Obama Administration for years, and now the President is getting even more help in pushing forward this initiative. Apple, American Express, A...
by Kristal High


Texas State University Home to Inaugural Party Politics #ChalkboardCampus Tour

Party Politics launched its inaugural Chalkboard Campus tour at Texas State University with the Organization of Student Social Workers (OSSW), Monday, October 26th at 10am outside the Alkek Library. The #ChalkboardCampus Tour i...
by Politic365 Staff


Fixing the System Starts with Making it Easier for Families to Stay Connected

Earlier in the week, VICE debuted a documentary on HBO called Fixing the System which explored the ways America’s criminal justice system undermines democracy, disrupts families, negatively impacts the economic well-bei...
by Kristal High



Lifeline Supporters Push for Equity in Expanding Subsidy to Broadband

More than 400 comments have poured into the Federal Communications Commission over the past two months, and September 30, 2015 marked the close of the Commission’s effort to get public input on whether Lifeline should be...
by Politic365 Staff


White House Council Releases Report to Increase Broadband Adoption

President Obama, like many Americans and national leaders across the country, recognizes the importance of broadband as the most critical infrastructure of the 21st century. “Access to high-speed broadband is no longer a lux...
by Kristal High


One Comment


    FL asked me every time for driv lic WITH photo to prove who I am. Why are Y'all so scare of telling who you are? What are you trying to hide? Trying to vote more than once??

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>