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(147,439 posts)
Mon Jul 16, 2012, 04:10 PM Jul 2012

Great LATimes Op Ed on Texas Poll tax

The LA Times has a very well done piece on the Texas poll tax http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-ackerman-texas-poll-tax-20120715,0,6684651.story

In 1964, the American people enacted the 24th Amendment, to prevent the exclusion of the poor from the ballot box. In his speech last week at the NAACP convention, U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. wasn't indulging in election-year rhetoric when he condemned Texas' 2011 voter photo identification law as a poll tax that could do just that. He was speaking the hard legal truth.

The Justice Department would be right to challenge this new law as an unconstitutional poll tax. The department has temporarily blocked the Texas law under special provisions of the Voting Rights Act that prevent states with a history of discrimination from disadvantaging minority groups. But the

attorney general should go further and raise a 24th Amendment challenge against Texas and other states that are joining the effort to bar the poor from the polls. This exclusionary campaign should not be allowed to destroy a great constitutional achievement of the civil rights revolution.

The 24th Amendment forbids the imposition of "any poll tax or other tax" in federal elections. Texas' law flatly violates this provision in dealing with would-be voters who don't have a state-issued photo ID. To obtain an acceptable substitute, they must travel to a driver's license office and submit appropriate documents, along with their fingerprints, to establish their qualifications. If they don't have the required papers, they must pay $22 for a copy of their birth certificate.

If they can't come up with the money for the qualifying documents, they can't vote. But the 24th Amendment denies states the power to create such a financial barrier to the ballot box.

Texas' violation is particularly blatant. In drafting its law, the Legislature rejected a provision that would have provided free copies of the necessary documents. Rather than paying for this service out of the general revenue fund, it chose to disqualify voters who couldn't pay the fee. This is precisely the choice forbidden by the Constitution.

If the DC circuit does not find that the Texas voter suppression law violates Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, you can expect additional litigation on this issue. The Missouri State Supreme Court held that their voter id law was a poll tax a while back
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Great LATimes Op Ed on Texas Poll tax (Original Post) Gothmog Jul 2012 OP
This argument was also made at the Lege - the cost of qualifying documents sonias Jul 2012 #1
Gov. Goodhair wants President Obama to aplogize for comments about Poll Tax Gothmog Jul 2012 #2


(18,063 posts)
1. This argument was also made at the Lege - the cost of qualifying documents
Tue Jul 17, 2012, 12:28 PM
Jul 2012

If Texas really was trying to make photo identification "free" they would have waived or covered the costs of all the supporting documents needed to obtain photo ID. They would have funded and implemented photo vans that drove around the state - especially to the rural areas to assist voters in getting photo ID. Including linking up with the various state agencies that would be needed to assist voters. In other words - the burden is on the State to provide free IDs to voters - for real.

And even better they would have just set up photo services at the polling places during the elections. If you did not have a photo ID when you came to vote they would take your picture right then and there. The state would then have your photo on file as part of your voter identification. The voter would have a photo ID card to vote with in the future. And anyone who thinks that voter impersonation at the voting place would not be deterred by having your photo taken identifying you as the voter is just a crazy effing wing nut. Who in their right mind would allow government officials to take their picture if they were voting illegally or fraudulently. Of course all of this would have cost the state big money - many, many millions. But they could stop whining about voter fraud and the integrity of elections if they really put some money into the effort to make sure no one was disenfranchised.

But that was never their intention, anyway.


(147,439 posts)
2. Gov. Goodhair wants President Obama to aplogize for comments about Poll Tax
Tue Jul 17, 2012, 04:54 PM
Jul 2012

Gov. Goodhair is demanding that President Obama apologize for Attorney General Holder's comments about the Texas poll tax being a poll tax http://content.usatoday.com/communities/onpolitics/post/2012/07/rick-perry-obama-texas-voter-id-law-eric-holder-/1?csp=34news

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is welcoming President Obama to the Lone Star state by asking the Democrat to apologize for Attorney General Eric Holder's comment that the state's voter identification law is a "poll tax."

Perry, a Republican who ended his presidential bid in January, blasts Holder in a statement posted on his gubernatorial website. He said Holder's words, made during a speech to the NAACP last week, "inflame passions and incite racial tension."

"Perhaps while the president is visiting Texas, he can take a break from big-dollar fundraisers to disavow his attorney general's offensive and incendiary comments regarding our common-sense voter identification law," Perry said. "The president should apologize for Holder's imprudent remarks and for his insulting lawsuit against the people of Texas."

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