Dismissed voter ID law never about fraud

Court slaps down rule that disenfranchised voters instead of protecting process
“Ballot integrity is undoubtedly a worthy goal. But the evidence before the Legislature was that in-person voting … yielded only two convictions for in-person voter impersonation fraud out of 20 million votes cast in the decade leading up to SB 14’s passage.”

Much the same way abortion clinic restrictions were never about “the safety of the women,” the voter ID debate in the Texas Legislature has never been about voter fraud.

Last week, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled Texas needs to make some changes. It looked at the case to see if Texas lawmakers had passed the bill with the purpose of depressing minority turnout or if they had passed it for other reasons without caring about the impact on minority populations. The law was struck down entirely.

Though having solid majorities in both state houses, Republicans — led by our Senator Troy Fraser — passed the bill in 2011. The governor, our senators, and Attorney General all crowed about how they had fought voter fraud.

The case will be sent back to the trial judge to see if discrimination was intentional, having poured so much energy into passing a bill that solved such a small problem.

The 5th Circuit Court ruling stated: “Ballot integrity is undoubtedly a worthy goal. But the evidence before the Legislature was that in-person voting … yielded only two convictions for in-person voter impersonation fraud out of 20 million votes cast in the decade leading up to SB 14’s passage.”

The court has ordered the judge to make changes to the law that would ease the impact of those who do not already have a voter ID. One solution could be for the state to mail a voter registration card to every registered voter and allow that to work.

 

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