News flash: Voter ID will mean fewer people can vote

I know, I’m as shocked as you are.

As many as a quarter of voters in some small Texas counties might not be able to cast ballots if the federal government allows the new state voter ID law to go into effect.

And in some places, the potential for that decrease in the number of voters could affect the outcome of elections.

The impact of the law was gleaned from several pages of data that the Texas secretary of state’s office provided to the U.S. Department of Justice, which is reviewing the law to determine whether it illegally hurts minority voters.

The data show that in 27 of Texas’ 254 counties, at least 10 percent of the registered voters might be unable to cast ballots, if Senate Bill 14 by Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, takes effect.

New flash #2: This is a feature, not a bug. If the law gets preclearance, it will do exactly what the Republicans who have been relentlessly pushing it intend for it to do. Not that they’re honest enough to admit it, of course.

Late last month, the Justice Department postponed its decision on pre-clearance. It asked the state for more information about voters. In particular, the department wanted more information on more than 600,000 registered voters whose names don’t appear in Texas databases of people with valid driver’s licenses or state-issued ID cards.

Rich Parsons, a spokesman for the secretary of state’s office, urged caution in interpreting the numbers. He said at least some of the 600,000 people in question might have what they need to vote.

“It is very possible they have one of the permissible forms of ID as required by Senate Bill 14,” Parsons said. “But we don’t know.”

The data show a potentially serious situation in Presidio County in Southwest Texas.

There, as many as 25.9 of registered voters might not have the required photo ID to cast ballots. If the new law were to take effect, as many as 1,313 out of 5,066 registered voters might be unable to vote.

State Rep. Patricia Harless, R-Spring , who sponsored the voter ID legislation in the House, discounted the possibility that her measure would diminish some people’s votes — even in Presidio County. “I don’t think this, in any way, is going to disenfranchise anyone,” she said.

Harless said most of the people not found in DPS files would be able to vote. Maybe their licenses and voter ID cards are different because one has a maiden name and the other has a married name.

Rep. Harless, meet Dorothy Cooper. If you believe that her experience in Tennessee will not happen to people here, you are at best tragically naive. It’s clear that the Secretary of State cannot answer the questions that the DOJ has raised about this law and its obviously retrogressive effects on voting rights. The only acceptable solution is to deny it preclearance.

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13 Responses to News flash: Voter ID will mean fewer people can vote

  1. Brad M. says:

    This voter ID law is a digusting attempt to disenfranchise a certain portion of the population. Patricia Harless is a liar or an idiot or, at best, completely disingenuous.

  2. Mark S. says:

    I think arguing against voter ID is a loser. The political motivation of the initiative’s backers may be repugnant but just because an ID requirement is unnecessary (given the actual incidence rate of voter fraud) doesn’t mean it’s unreasonable.

    Ironically, the complications arising from voter ID requirements sure make a great justification for a national ID program.

  3. Ross says:

    Kuff, can I mark you down as being supportive of anyone voting, regardless of their qualifications, since it’s obvious that you don’t think any ID check at all is reasonable. Do you care if your neighbor votes twice, once with their invalid, comatose parent’s registration in another precinct?

    I would do away with mail in ballots, except for military voters, and require those to be certified by a commanding officer as being from the actual person on the registration. Early voting lasts long enough for anyone to get to the polls before they close.

  4. We’d been doing just fine with voter registration cards, Ross, until the GOP decided that in person voting fraud was a threat to democracy. Go ahead and give me one good reason why we needed this law. Specifically, go ahead and give me one good reason why this law is worth preventing even one eligible voter, let alone 600,000 of them, from exercising their legal right to vote. Silly hypotheticals for which there’s no evidence of actual occurrence don’t count – remember, Greg Abbott spent a year and over a million dollars looking for cases he could prosecute, and never found one example of in person voting fraud.

    The entire purpose of this law is to prevent people, in particular people who tend to vote Democratic, from voting. There’s no other reason for it.

  5. Ron in Houston says:

    I tend to agree with Mark S. Voting fraud may not be much of a problem but saying it doesn’t exist isn’t exactly a winning argument either. The name Lyndon Johnson comes to mind in this debate.

    The only hope to stop it is either the DOJ or a private lawsuit on disproportionate impact on minority voting. That would still depend on someone showing facts to support the disproportionate impact.

  6. matx says:

    Voter fraud is not the same as election fraud. Voter fraud is due to actions of individuals attempting to vote illegally. Election fraud is an organized effort by groups to influence an election by illegally stuffing ballot boxes, changing vote counts or intimidating voters trying to exercise their constitutional right to vote. Apparently, AG Abbott couldn’t find any voter fraud in Texas despite spending over a million dollars looking for it–did he check for election fraud, though?

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