In a blow to Texas Republicans' effort to disenfranchise poor and minority voters, a federal court blocked the state's contentious voter ID law today. Texas was one of ten states that sought to prevent so-called voter fraud by requiring a valid government identification in order for someone to vote.
By rejecting the law, the three panel court scolded the state for targeting the poverty-stricken, minorities and the elderly, all of whom are the most likely groups to not have the proper identification necessary to vote. Nine other states have introduced these modern-day Jim Crow laws, and South Carolina's is being challenged at this moment, as well.
Pennsylvania's law was inexplicably upheld in mid-August. In that state, more than 14 percent of the eligible voters don't have a voter ID, and most of those are either very poor or minorities. These demographic groups overwhelmingly support Barack Obama, and as such, the law can only be seen as a violation of their right to vote.
The Pennsylvania ruling is being appealed, and hopefully Texas' outcome will force the appeals judge to look a little more closely at the Pennsylvania law. Already in places like Wisconsin, the law has had negative effects, especially on the very elderly who often lack original birth certificates necessary to get a valid ID.
Even if some of those affected by the law have all the necessary paperwork, they often don't have the time due to work constraints, or the transportation needed to get to government office. In Texas, getting a government ID is no easy task. You can't just show up, take a number and leave in 30 minutes. Dallas/Fort Worth's NBC affiliate did a report about the Texas Department of Public Safety's notoriously long waits, with lines often snaking around the building.
It might take up to 3 hours of waiting in line just to get seen by the door clerk to get a number. Then you have to wait in the official line, which can take another one to two hours. If you end up not having the proper paperwork, you have to come back and do it all over again. The poor often don't have the luxury of spending an entire work day dealing with the Texas DPS mess, so they just go without.
Texas' attorney general Greg Abbot tried to convince the panel that 50 cases of fraud out of 13 million voters warranted creating a voter ID law. Thankfully, the court disagreed. Funny thing about this whole thing is that some of the voter fraud wasn't even committed by illegal aliens. Last month, an Arizona Republican running for Pinal County Supervisor was found to be casting votes in his dead girlfriend's name for five years after her death. That's right, a Republican politician cast votes in a dead person's name not once, but many times. Of course he denied the allegations, but hey, don't they all?
Talk about Republican hypocrisy, eh?