Democracy got a win in Texas yesterday. A federal judge has again ruled against the Texas voter ID law, saying a watered-down version still discriminates against black and Hispanic voters.
The law accepts certain types of IDs, but not others. It also allows voters to sign an affidavit saying they could not obtain an ID in time to vote. The judge said the changes did not “fully ameliorate” a law with discriminatory intent.
interesting. Arkansas’s voter ID law was struck down by the Arkansas Supreme Court on state grounds — for presenting unconstitutional new requirements on voting. The Republican legislature tried again in 2017 with a law similar to Texas’ — IDs are required, but voters can sign a statement (under penalty of perjury) that will allow them to cast a ballot. An election commission (all now controlled by Republicans) can decide whether or not to accept the signed statements in lieu of IDs.
No challenge has been filed against the new Arkansas voter ID law. Yet. It has the same aim as that in Texas, reducing voter turnout among traditionally disenfranchised communities. As a backup, the legislature has a constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2018 that will make voter ID the law for good.
Republicans hope the changed membership of the Arkansas Supreme Court will obliterate precedent set by the earlier voter ID ruling, which said eloquently that the state Constitution means what it says — no new requirements may be added to those enumerated to vote. (You must prove your ID to register to vote and cast your first ballot, by the way.)
Republicans have pushed voter ID laws nationwide as a fraud detection tool, though virtually no evidence of voter impersonation exists. The laws work. Research indicates, for example, the rule in Wisconsin discouraged tens of thousands of voters, particularly in minority-rich urban areas. You may remember that a whisker-thin margin gave Donald Trump a victory over
Also on the voter suppression front: A study finds Kansas disqualifies a disproportionate number of ballots, more even than Florida with seven times the population. You can thank Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Republican long aimed at purging voter rolls. Remember that he’s leading a so-called election integrity commission working for Donald Trump to do for the U.S. what Kobach did for Kansas (and Donald Trump hopes, provide some material to demonstrate Hillary Clinton really didn’t win the popular vote in 2016.) Arkansas has a representative on this so-called integrity commission, lobbyist and former legislator David Dunn. He insists he’ll not be a part of any voter suppression efforts. He owes his appointment to Republican Secretary of State Mark Martin.