Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Texas Voter ID Law: Discrimination v. Fraud

     Texas recently engaged in a lawsuit titled Texas v. Attorney General Eric Holder to enact a Voter ID Law requiring voters to present a valid ID in order to vote. The law itself is controversial, as many critics argue it will further detract from the decreasing voter turnout rate. Advocates aim to eliminate voter fraud. Somewhere in the middle lies the debate of costs weighed against benefits. Judge Napolitano claims that the law would be invalidated by the federal court.
          “My gut is it will be invalidated and I think it will be invalidated because I believe that the Justice         Department will be able to show that this will have an unfair burden on the elderly, the poor, and the  minorities. Not that it was intended to do so, but it will have that practical effect and, if the court finds  that, it will invalidate it and then the old rule of a utility bill, or anything you have showing where you  live, will be sufficient for this November’s election.” - Mediaite
     While this is true, one must consider the voter fraud rate in Texas. Indiana already enforces one such law as of 2008, and it was not deemed discriminatory of the previously mentioned demographics. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott reported that he had 50 cases of voter fraud convictions in recent years. In fact, many argue that such a voter ID law would decrease voter turnout, yet history shows that voter turnout has actually increased since these laws were enacted in other states. Texas even offers free ID cards, therefore rendering no voter rights violated. He additionally argues that citizens must present an ID cashing checks or entering government buildings via USA Today.
     Abbott brings an interesting point to the table. If we use our ID for casual everyday activities, why would we not want the same security applied to our votes? If other states have enacted these laws effectively, who is to say Texas should not be permitted? Voting is something to be taken very seriously and elects officials that represent us in crucial decisions. I for one believe that the Texas Voter ID Law is constitutional and be a part of Texas voting requirements.

1 comment:

  1. A classmate of mine has recently discussed the issue of the new Voter Identification Law that was passed in Texas in 2011. This legislation has led to the U.S. Department of Justice filing a lawsuit against the state titled Texas v. Attorney General Eric Holder. The new Voter Identification Law would require voters to present a valid photo identification to vote in elections. I agree with my classmate and believe in the current society that presenting a valid photo identification is a reasonable request.
    Currently when voting in Texas, a person does not have to present a photo ID. Acceptable identification after recieving a voter registration certificate includes:
    - a birth certificate or other document confirming birth that is admissible in a court of law and establishes the person's identity;
    -official mail addressed to the person by name from a governmental entity;
    -a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter;
    These documents do not have photographs on them and can easily be obtained or duplicated allowing voter fraud. An article titled, "Texas says voter ID law needed to combat election fraud" states that "In Bee County, near Corpus Christi, there are 19,000 missing voter registration cards - the only document necessary to cast a vote under current law, Ingram said. Texas will soon investigate 239 cases of dead people casting votes in the 2010 election." With incidents like these occuring in Texas, it is undeniable that there is a need for more regulation of voting. With photo ID required at voting polls, it will enable the government to better prevent voter fraud. Evidence has shown that this procedure would not influence voter participation. I believe photo identification at the voting polls is constitutional and has become a necessity in modern-day regulation.