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  • Photo ID for DOJ, But Not for Texas

    To no one’s surprise, the Obama Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division have objected to the voter ID law passed by the Texas legislature. The DOJ under Attorney General Eric Holder claims that it is discriminatory under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act for Texas to require voters to present a government-issued photo ID at the polling place, because it will supposedly hurt Hispanic voters—even though any Texan can get a photo ID for free.

    Never mind that if you want to exercise your First Amendment right to “petition the Government for a redress of grievances” by talking to anyone at the Justice Department, you have to present a government-issued photo ID if you want to get into their headquarters in Washington. How discriminatory!

    The March 12 objection letter from Thomas Perez, the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights—a former staffer for Senator Ted Kennedy (D–MA) and president of Casa de Maryland, an illegal immigrant rights group—is a study in statistical manipulation and deceit. Perez makes no mention, for example, of DOJ’s approval of Georgia’s voter ID law, nor does he explain how the Texas law is so different from Georgia’s law that an objection is justified.

    DOJ precleared Georgia’s law in 2005 because it was not discriminatory. That judgment has proven to be correct, since the turnout of minority voters in Georgia has gone up dramatically since the implementation of the law. And a lawsuit filed under the Voting Rights Act by the ACLU and the NAACP was also thrown out because a federal judge found that the law was not discriminatory. According to official figures from the Georgia Secretary of State, in the 2008 election, Hispanic voter turnout increased 140 percent over 2004 (when there was no photo ID law in place), while the turnout of black voters went up 42 percent. In the 2010 midterm election, the turnout of Hispanic voters went up 66.5 percent over 2006, while the turnout of black voters increased 44.7 percent. By contrast, the turnout of white voters only increased 8 percent in 2008 and 11.7 percent in 2010.

    Perez notes that Texas did not submit any evidence of impersonation fraud to justify the ID law. But there is no such requirement under Section 5. In fact, when it upheld Indiana’s photo ID law as constitutional, the Supreme Court already determined that states have a legitimate and rational interest in protecting the security of elections as well as upholding public confidence in the election process. Furthermore, Perez’s statement ignores the fact that ID requirements can also prevent voting under fictitious voter registrations, voting under the names of dead voters, or voting by noncitizens, individuals registered in other states, or those in the country illegally.

    The Justice Department also plays a statistical trick with the data, just as it did when it objected to South Carolina’s voter ID law, in order to make insignificant discrepancies look very large. Keep in mind that the Census shows that the Hispanic population in Texas is 37.6 percent, although only 21.8 percent of the registered voters in Texas are Hispanic. This is no doubt due in part to the very low citizenship rate of Hispanics in the state, i.e., the Hispanic population in Texas includes a substantial number of legal and illegal immigrants.

    Texas submitted at least one set of data in September 2011 comparing its registered voter list of 12.7 million people to its driver’s license list maintained by the Texas Department of Public Safety. According to DOJ, 6.3 percent of registered Hispanics don’t have a driver’s license, versus 4.3 percent of non-Hispanics. This is only a 2 percentage point difference, yet DOJ extrapolates that to mean that a “Hispanic voter is 46.5 percent more likely than a non-Hispanic voter to lack” an ID.

    The very same Texas data shows that almost three times as many non-Hispanic registered voters are without an ID, so the new ID requirement will have a greater effect on whites and other non-Hispanics. DOJ ignores this fact. And we don’t know how many of these individuals who supposedly don’t have a driver’s license have one of the other forms of ID acceptable under Texas law, such as a passport, a gun permit, a military ID, or a citizenship certification.

    This amounts to statistical manipulation by the Justice Department because the smaller the numbers you are using, the larger a slight difference appears. Try reporting the percentages from the opposite perspective. Take the very same numbers used by DOJ but change them to refer to the number of Hispanics and non-Hispanics who have a Texas driver’s license. Under the DOJ scenario, if 6.3 percent of registered Hispanics don’t have an ID, then 93.7 percent of Hispanics do have an ID. If 4.3 percent of non-Hispanics don’t have an ID, then 95.7 percent of non-Hispanics do have ID. When you calculate the difference in likelihood of having an ID, just like DOJ did with the first set of numbers, that difference means that “a non-Hispanic registered voter is only 2 percent more likely than a Hispanic voter to have an ID.”

    That supposedly profound difference of almost 50 percent cited by DOJ almost entirely disappears. Even a second set of data from Texas that shows a slightly large differential is still not significant.  And as indicated earlier, there is no mention of the fact that Hispanic turnout in states such as Georgia has gone up dramatically since its voter ID law was implemented. That is a very inconvenient fact for those engaging more in politics than law at DOJ.

    Assistant Attorney General Perez and the lawyers running the Voting Section under his direction seem incapable of an unbiased review of voter ID laws. In addition to the Obama political appointees like Perez, many of the new lawyers hired into the career ranks, including the two new deputy chiefs of the Voting Section, all came from liberal advocacy organizations like the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund—which have vigorously fought and litigated against voter ID.

    Texas, just like South Carolina, will have to get this decision overturned by a federal court in the District of Columbia, after a lot of wasted time and money. Given the predominantly liberal makeup of the federal court, the state may have to go all the way to the Supreme Court, just like Indiana did to get its voter ID laws approved and implemented. But this decision also is just one more example of why Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act—the special provision of the law that gives the Justice Department such authority over Texas and a few other states—is unconstitutional and ready for the dustbin of history.

    Neither Texas nor South Carolina deserves to be in the equivalent of federal receivership 47 years after the Voting Rights Act was passed—particularly when you have a Justice Department where politics, not justice, drives law enforcement.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    21 Responses to Photo ID for DOJ, But Not for Texas

    1. MarkV says:

      Where are you getting your numbers from?? It is very typical of a Heritage post to be thoroughly referenced. Without such verifiable references, why would we trust your numbers? Heck, anyone can play that game: I say it was Nevada in 1896 not Georgia in 2005. Also there are 21.4 percent of Hispanics with Texas IDs not 6.3.

      Very, very shoddy piece worthy of the Huffington Post, but not Heritage. Please clean this up and repost!

    2. bobeaston says:

      We need photo ID to buy spray paint in NJ and NY, but not to vote!

    3. Saltire says:

      Photo ID for voter registration sounds like a good idea to keep voter fraud in check. But, apparently, the Obama DOJ doesn't think so. I guess a bureaucracy like DMV might be the solution. Each state's secretary of state can open a new office in each area of a state, like DMV. People can take proof of residence and birth, register to vote, have their picture taken and issued their voter registration card with their picture on it.

      There you go, now, more state money can be spent for the voter ID, instead of having laws that use ID that is already in existence.

    4. Bobbie says:

      Supreme court is absolutely classless to draw attention to one nationality of people and suggest they can't be held to voter integrity. Use a nationality of people for those cheating candidates to get their way. This is ONE area where discrimination is deplorable when voting for the leadership of this country and America now forced to deal with those in position of authority, that protect voter fraud over integrity. What the heck does that say about them? Unacceptable. Intolerable.

      Equal rules applied in areas that effect all Americans / society / America have to be required of all Americans. There's only insultingly deep and derogatory excuses not to.

      If people choose not to take the proper steps to vote than they are choosing not to vote.

    5. Proud Texan says:

      That's ok…. The obama administration hates Texas and all it's residents. How else do you explain hundreds of families burnt out of their homes in a wildfire, yet no federal funds were dispensed? Texas voters for the most part vote conservative, and that just won't do in the holder Dept of Justice.

      As we are that much hated, we must be doing something right.

      • some guy says:

        try again. Millions of funds were "dispensed" to Texas. What Perry wanted was the entire state declared a Disaster Area. That request was denied.

    6. Noel Novacek says:

      The nut jobs in the Obama admin just keep on gettin nuttier.

    7. Jeanne Stotler says:

      I need a photo ID to drive, get on an airplane, buy liqour, be admitted to a hospital, and numerous other things, SO what is the big thing about showing ID to vote. We all know voter fraud in 2008 was out of control, some even bragged about how they got away with it. The argument that low income can't get ID is simply not true, if you drive you have ID, even so, you can get a picture ID at DMV, mabe registars should have cameras and when you register to vote you get you ID, just like when you get a drivers license. It's well known that illegal and legal non-residents were hearded to the polls in some areas and in others Black Panthers kept whites away. This spells VOTER FRAUD.

      • FmrUSMCRnTX says:

        Spot on, Jeanne!! It's crystal clear what the Obama/Holder DOJ is doing here. And it's nefarious and WRONG! But when did these guys ever care about that? The whole thing is political, pure & simple. Your statement about the 2008 New Black Panther case illustrates just how biased this DOJ really is; they refused to pursue that case of flagrant voter intimidation. But they're suing states that've passed immigration enforcement laws…which were passed because the Feds REFUSE to enforce existing federal immigration laws. And let's not forget about "Operation Fast & Furious". This DOJ has broken more laws than they've selectively enforced. Rather than being titled "Dept of Justice", this radical bunch should be called "Department of Liberal Injustice"! Shame on them, but then they have no shame, nor ethics! :(

        • Jeanne Stotler says:

          Oh I agree, I've lived most ofmy life, all 80 years, in te shadow of the capitol, my parents worked for Navy during WWII, grandfather was a JAG, and served under Teddy Roosevelt and John . Pershing, I grew up hearing about politics. This administration is so racist and partial, the head of the Senate is a JOKE, he doesn't allow bills to go to the floor from th house. Not only do they notuphold the law of the land, they ignore it when convienent. I boil when I think of John McCain's citizenship having been questioned, because he was born in a Military hosp. Yet Obama has yet to show a true BC, school records, and explain why he has a Conn. Soc. Sec. card when he never lived in Conn. ? a lot of questions an yet no answers. A huge fraud has been committed on this country and it needs to be exposed, Go for it Sheriff Joe.

    8. guest says:

      Q. Where may one find lists of nations around the world, what they require to vote, and which have photo fingerprint foolproof requirements – also in which countries voters proudly wave a blue inked finger after voting..
      Q. And, is there a list of types and explanations of voter fraud?
      Q. What has this Administration done to help or hinder voter fraud – where and when?

    9. guest says:

      How come this Pres is so quick to congratulate winners of contested elections – like Franken, Putin, others?

    10. One of the guarantees that Obama was assured of when he put Eric Holder in charge of the U.S. Justice Department was that he knew Holder would completely politicize the Department to insure the electorate process would only benefit the Democrat Party and punish the Republican Party. Promises made are now promises kept. Holder has proclaimed that the state of Texas cannot guarantee that its new voter identification law would not discriminate against Hispanics. Because of Voting Rights Act of 1965, the onus is on Texas to guarantee that the possible, probable, likelihood of voting discrimination must not occur in some future election or elections. Maybe this legislation should be revised since it was designed to address an injustice whose origins began in the years of Reconstruction, around 1865? Oh, by the way, as a life-long “Hispanic” resident of Texas, I cannot recall one example of anyone, black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, et.al, claiming their voting rights were denied in any election in Texas for any office, from dog-catcher to President. But that’s just me. Maybe I missed something?

    11. Lloyd Scallan says:

      There is only one reason this Obama DOJ wants to stop state laws that require voter ID. They, and the Democrat Party, needs fraudulent votes to win. Here in Louisiana, Mary Landrieu was elected to the Senate only because "minoritires" were allowed to vote as many as 5 times, along with "dead people". This absurd excuse that it's harder for "minorities" to obtain ID's is pure B.S. Why is it "more difficult" for minorities to obtain voter ID than whites? If anyone goes through the honest process to register, it's certainly not a "hardship" to apply for a free ID. But, as we have viewed so many times, the "registation process" is not exactly honest, but that's another subject.

    12. doowop says:

      nice!

    13. Mutantone says:

      I say the easiest way is to take finger prints when you register to vote and install field finger print identification readers at all the polling sites simple easy and well with in the realm of capabilities. Check off the names as they vote thus eliminating people from being bused around from poll to poll to vote like ACORN loves to do. This will also eliminate the dead from rising just in time to vote, and Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck will also have been eliminated.

    14. Ottilie says:

      It's clear the Heritage Foundation wants to suppress votes from minorities, seniors, and young people. There is absolutely no reason for the position the Heritage Foundation takes since voter fraud is less than being struck by lightning. But your supporters do not understand that. You simply want to suppress those who have a right to vote.
      I think your position is appalling.

    15. Jinsky Jean-Pois says:

      The legal doctrine of one vote per citizen is a sacred principle that defines and governs the representative republic in elections to reflect the consent of the governed. Voter fraud is an abhorrent criminal offense that devalues the integrity and veracity of the electoral process and should not be condoned criminal conduct that the public should tolerate. A biometric or photographic-identity verification system that conforms to the minimum authentication standard for identity, eligibility, and residency is merited for a uniform voter registration database administered by the state election bureau, which should be enforced and implemented by law. Third party organizations, such as ACORN, have assisted people cast fraudulent and illegitimate votes at polling precincts and with postal absentee ballots under fictitious voter registration submitted to election officials. Many ACORN officials who allegedly committed various election code violations have been charged, indicted, prosecuted, and convicted of criminal voter fraud offenses.

      The public policy concept of election law reform is intended for the legislatures of the several state governments to implement and to enforce minimum legal standards that regulate the electoral process and the electoral administration of the voting system thereof with appropriate security elements. By 2013, at least four states may have their constitutions modified on the topic of election law reform: Arizona (2004), Minnesota (2012), Mississippi (2011), and Missouri (2012). A strict voter photographic-identity document requirement were adopted by nine states according to the National Counsel of State Legislatures: Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin. Five Democratic state governors have vetoed legislation to impose a strict photographic voter-identity requirements approved by Republican legislatures: Minnesota (Mark Dayton), Missouri (Jay Nixon), Montana (Brian Schweitzer) North Carolina (Beverly Perdue), and New Hampshire (John Lynch). The state legislatures and chief executives who support election law reform should establish a process to verify the identity, eligibility, and residency of voter registrants. The liberal argument against voter-ID laws is that requiring voter registrants to substantiate identity, eligibility, and residency unduly burdens the right to vote, which the Supreme Court rejected by a 6-3 vote in Crawford versus Marion County Election Board. Suffrage is a sacred right of the eligible citizens in the constitutional republic. In conclusion, this public policy initiative is appropriate and justifiable for security and inoculation of the electoral process to minimize voter fraud.

    16. Stephen says:

      Actually, as a Texas resident, unless I am an honorably discharged, disable (60%) veteran, there is ALWAYS a fee (minimum $16.00) to obtain a state issued ID, DL or non-DL. Add to that the cost of obtaining certified copies of any required documents. ($15 – $25 for birth certificates or up to $100.00 for a replacement passport…) To a single parent living below the poverty level, working for minimum wage because TX is a right-to-work state with little to no union presence, and that "fee" to vote could be the difference between medication for her kids, food on the table, or gas to heat her home. You should check your facts before you spout this damnable false propaganda.

      • @Spokker says:

        First of all, most of the people working minimum wage live in households above the poverty line. Second of all, a single mother living below the poverty line is eligible for a boatload of assistance. Third of all, the same problems would be faced by poor white trash as well, so it’s not a race issue.

        AND IF THAT SINGLE MOTHER IS WORKING A MINIMUM WAGE JOB HOW DID SHE PROVE ELIGIBILITY TO WORK IN THE UNITED STATES WITHOUT AN ID AND SOCIAL SECURITY CARD? Yes, I do intend to yell this. I have to show that every time I accept a new job.

        What I do find offensive is this idea that voter ID laws is going to somehow hurt Hispanic citizens. Nonsense. Opposition to voter ID laws on these grounds is predicated on the idea that Latinos are too f’ing dumb to following simple instructions to get an ID, that they don’t already have IDs to do all the things in life that require ID.

        As someone who lives in a predominantly Latino area, I sit and watch the voting process whenever there’s an election just to see what’s going on, who’s coming in, and what not. There are a ton of voters, including Latinos, who go in with their IDs already out, ready to be shown. They show the ID and the old people say, “Oh, that’s okay, we don’t need to see it.”

        Why do they show ID? Because it’s common sense to prove who you are for something as important as voting.

        Now I don’t care one way or the other whether such laws exist. I’m not standing on the sidelines cheering for Neocons or anything like that. I’m advocating for the idea that such laws will not hurt specific ethnic groups.

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