Saturday, May 28, 2016
Vote in Texas with a gun permit? Sure! All you have is a student ID? Sorry, you can't vote
By Meteor Blades
Tuesday May 24, 2016 · 3:20 PM EDT
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals began hearing a case Tuesday on the legality of the Texas voter ID law. It’s viewed as the most restrictive such law in the nation and the circuit court’s ruling could have impacts well beyond the Lone Star state.
Jim Malewitz reports at The Texas Tribune that Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller argued before all 15 judges of the circuit court that lower courts were wrong to say the 2011 law discriminates against people of color and low-income voters :
If those rulings are left as written, “all voting laws could be in jeopardy,” Keller said before a packed courtroom that included his boss, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
Lawyers representing the U.S. Department of Justice, minority groups and other plaintiffs disagreed, asking the judges to affirm what a lower court — and a three-judge panel in this same courthouse — previously concluded: that Senate Bill 14 has a "discriminatory effect” on Hispanic, African-American and other would-be voters in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
Before the Supreme Court wrecked the Voting Rights Act with the Shelby ruling in 2013, Texas had sent the law to the Department of Justice for approval. Under the VRA, several states and some jurisdictions within states that had a history of discriminating at the polls against blacks, Latinos and/or American Indians had to “pre-clear” any major changes in their voting procedures with the feds. The DOJ rejected the proposed law. But before Texas officials could submit revisions, the Shelby ruling was announced, ending the pre-clearance requirement. Texas quickly imposed the voter ID law.
To prove how twisted it is: If all you have is a college student ID, that’s not acceptable for voting. But if you’re a college student with a gun permit, they will happily give the nod to that and let you cast your ballot.