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LetMyPeopleVote's Journal
LetMyPeopleVote's Journal
July 19, 2012

The Last Word-Button Design contest for "Off the Cliff"

The Last Word is doing a contest for the design for the official campaign button for the "Off the Cliff" campaign. http://thelastword.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/07/19/12837776-submit-designs-for-off-the-cliff-campaign?lite

This could be fun. The Off the Cliff campaign is a good idea http://www.democraticunderground.com/1002972812

July 19, 2012

Texas wants access to database for voter purging

Goodhair does not want Rick Scott to have all of the fun with respect to purging voter rolls http://www.dallasnews.com/incoming/20120718-texas-wants-access-to-federal-database-of-immigrants-to-check-voter-rolls.ece

Texas officials plan to join a growing number of states across the country seeking access to a massive immigration database to check voter rolls for possible non-citizens, officials confirmed Wednesday.

Texas Secretary of State officials were drafting a letter Wednesday formally requesting access to the Department of Homeland Security database, which contains more than 100 million immigration records, said Rich Parsons, an agency spokesman.

Texas Secretary of State Esperanza “Hope” Andrade, an appointee of Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry, is the latest GOP elections leader to request access to the database since Homeland Security officials last week granted Florida permission to use the database.
July 16, 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
July 6, 2012

Voter ID Trial starts on Monday, July 9

The trial on SB14 before a panel of the DC Circuit starts on Monday. The Texas Redistricting blog has an update on this trial http://txredistricting.org/post/26649926862/photo-id-trial-starts-monday

Trial on the State of Texas’ request for preclearance of its photo ID law (SB 14) starts Monday in Washington before a three-judge panel.

The trial is expected to last a week, with the panel rendering a ruling by August 31.

The trial will address both the claims that the photo ID law has a disparate impact on African-American and Hispanic voters and that the law was enacted with “a discriminatory purpose: the disenfranchisement of Hispanic and black voters.”

The trial, however, will not address claims by the State of Texas that the preclearance requirements of section 5 of the Voting Rights Act are unconstitutional - an issue the court will take up in separate proceedings only if the court finds grounds to deny preclearance.

If the law is precleared by August 31, the State of Texas has said that it will still have time to implement the law for November 2012 elections.

The Court has scheduled this trial so as to allow some time to implement the law for the November elections. We may not know until August 31 the ruling of the court and may only have a limited time to get ready for dealing with a voter id law. If the Court rules in favor of the State of Texas, we can expect some mass confusion as to the implementation of SB14.

I have briefly looked at the proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law from both the DOJ and the State of Texas. The quality of the work product is clear. The DOJ has 80+ pages of detailed findings and Greg Abbott has less than 20 pages of rather vague and general findings. For example, according to Greg Abbott, one 92 year old lady who does not have a birth certificate would not be prejudiced by the law because she can vote by mail since she is over 65. The Texas Southern students who have out of state drivers’ license but no birth certificates are not prejudiced because they simply need to pay for and get their own birth certificate if they want to vote.

I did not see any discussion of whether requiring someone to pay for a birth certificate would constitute a poll tax. I hope that NAACP or the other litigants will be raising this issue.

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