Texas primary TODAY! Voter ID law not applied

May 29, 2012

Registered voter in Texas?   Remember to vote today in the Texas primary.  Twice delayed due to the shenanigans on biased redistricting by the Republican Lege, we finally get going on voting — after the precinct and Senate district political conventions have already occurred (just two weeks from the Texas Democratic State Convention).

texas our texas

Flags fly at the Texas Capitol; fly your flags today for election day (Photo credit: jmtimages)

Happy to see the Texas Democratic Party sending out notices that voters won’t be turned away from the polls for identification issues. Texas’s Jim Crow Voter Identification Hurdle Law has been stayed in litigation separate from the redistricting law suit.  It’s a clear effort to deflate the voting discouragement campaign of State Attorney General Greg Abbott, Gov. Rick Perry, and the Republicans of the Texas Lege.

Earlier letter from the Texas Democrats:

TDP Banner

Dear Ed,

On Monday, the polls will open [TODAY] for early voting for the May 29th Democratic Primary Election. We’ll be selecting the Democratic nominees who will lead the charge towards taking back our state in 2012.

Here’s how you can make your voice heard:

Confirm that you’re registered to vote. You can verify your registration on the Secretary of State’s website.

Find your early voting location by contacting your county elections office. Early voting for the Primary Election runs from Monday, May 14th through Friday, May 25th.

Request to have a ballot mailed to you. Your application for a mail ballot must be received no later than Tuesday, May 22nd.

Use the same documents that you’ve used in the past to vote. No photo ID is required! The photo voter id legislation is not in effect for this election. All you need is:

  • Your voter registration card;
  • A driver’s license or personal identification card issued to you by Texas or another state (even if the license or card has expired);
  • A form of identification that contains your photograph and establishes your identity;
  • A birth certificate or other document confirming birth that is admissible in a court of law and establishes your identity;
  • Your United States citizenship papers;
  • Your United States passport;
  • Official mail addressed to you by a governmental entity; or
  • A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows your name and address.

Want to know who’s on the ballot? A list of the Democratic candidates is available on our website.

Want to know more about voting in Texas? Visit VoteTexas.gov.

Want to help elect Democrats in your county? Have questions about local races? Contact your Democratic County Chair.

Sincerely,

Boyd L. Richie

Boyd L. Richie
Chairman
Texas Democratic Party

Did the Republicans inform their voters of the ID requirements, or do they want to discourage even Republican voters?   They keep booting me off their lists. Anybody got a similar letter from them, especially one showing how the Texas Voter Identification law does not apply to this primary election?

_____________

* The elections were delayed by federal court orders. Texas is a place that historically discriminated against minority voters, and so under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, reapportionments by the legislature must be approved by the Justice Department or a federal court as complying with the nondiscrimination laws. AG Abbott tried to do an end run around Justice, suing for approval as a first step. As part of its War on Democracy, the Texas Lege wrote a spectacularly Gerrymandered reapportionment plan, depriving Texas Hispanics from new representation despite the dramatic increase in their populations. Consequently the federal courts balked at quick approval. Instead, they asked for more information.

In the delay, the Washington courts ordered the federal court in San Antonio to draw up a more fair plan, giving at least three new seats to districts where historically minority voters hold broad sway.

Litigation against the Texas Jim Crow Voter Identification law is separate.

ALEC CROW - 21st Century Disenfranchisement

ALEC CROW – 21st Century Disenfranchisement (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey) — not in effect for today’s Texas primary elections


Texas: No voter identification required for May 29 primary

May 13, 2012

Early voting for the twice-delayed* Texas primary elections opens this week.  The election is set for May 29.

Happy to see the Texas Democratic Party sending out notices that voters won’t be turned away from the polls.  It’s a clear effort to deflate the voting discouragement campaign of State Attorney General Greg Abbott, Gov. Rick Perry, and the Republicans of the Texas Lege.

Letter from the Texas Democrats:

TDP Banner

Dear Ed,

On Monday, the polls will open for early voting for the May 29th Democratic Primary Election. We’ll be selecting the Democratic nominees who will lead the charge towards taking back our state in 2012.

Here’s how you can make your voice heard:

Confirm that you’re registered to vote.  You can verify your registration on the Secretary of State’s website.

Find your early voting location by contacting your county elections office.  Early voting for the Primary Election runs from Monday, May 14th through Friday, May 25th.

Request to have a ballot mailed to you.  Your application for a mail ballot must be received no later than Tuesday, May 22nd.

Use the same documents that you’ve used in the past to vote. No photo ID is required! The photo voter id legislation is not in effect for this election. All you need is:

  • Your voter registration card;
  • A driver’s license or personal identification card issued to you by Texas or another state (even if the license or card has expired);
  • A form of identification that contains your photograph and establishes your identity;
  • A birth certificate or other document confirming birth that is admissible in a court of law and establishes your identity;
  • Your United States citizenship papers;
  • Your United States passport;
  • Official mail addressed to you by a governmental entity; or
  • A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows your name and address.

Want to know who’s on the ballot? A list of the Democratic candidates is available on our website.

Want to know more about voting in Texas? Visit VoteTexas.gov.

Want to help elect Democrats in your county? Have questions about local races? Contact your Democratic County Chair.

Sincerely,

Boyd L. Richie

Boyd L. Richie
Chairman
Texas Democratic Party

I’d be interested to see that the Republican Party in Texas is doing something similar. They keep booting me off their lists. Anybody got a similar letter from them, especially one showing how the Texas Voter Identification law does not apply to this primary election?

_____________

*  The elections were delayed by federal court orders.  Texas is a place that historically discriminated against minority voters, and so under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, reapportionments by the legislature must be approved by the Justice Department or a federal court as complying with the nondiscrimination laws.  AG Abbott tried to do an end run around Justice, suing for approval as a first step.  As part of its War on Democracy, the Texas Lege wrote a spectacularly Gerrymandered reapportionment plan, depriving Texas Hispanics from new representation despite the dramatic increase in their populations.  Consequently the federal courts balked at quick approval.  Instead, they asked for more information.  In the delay, the Washington courts ordered the federal court in San Antonio to draw up a more fair plan, giving at least three new seats to districts where Hispanics hold broad sway.

Litigation against the Texas Jim Crow Voter Identification law is separate.


51 years they’ve pursued this woman who marched with Dr. King . . .

May 6, 2012

. . . and now they’ve figured out how to keep her from voting:  A “voter I.D. law” in Pennsylvania.  Viviette Applewhite is suing to keep her right to vote.

From the website of ACLU of Pennsylvania:

On May 1, 2012, the ACLU of Pennsylvania, the Advancement Project, the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia (PILCOP), and the Washington, DC law firm of Arnold & Porter LLP filed a lawsuit in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania to overturn the voter ID law passed by the General Assembly in March 2012.

The lawsuit alleges that the state’s voter photo ID law violates the Pennsylvania Constitution by depriving citizens of their most fundamental constitutional right – the right to vote. The plaintiffs are asking the Commonwealth Court to issue an injunction blocking enforcement of the law before November’s election. If the law is not overturned, most of the plaintiffs will be unable to cast ballots in the fall, despite the fact that many of them have voted regularly for decades.

Voter identification laws passed through several legislatures in the past half decade frequently cause more voters to lose their voting privileges than frauds prevented.  While there is no evidence of significant voter fraud caused by someone stealing another’s identity to vote — the only voter fraud voter identification laws is aimed at — there are thousands, or tens of thousands of people in every state where these laws are passed who cannot get suitable identification papers to vote.

Although these citizens often are long-time voters, good citizen parents who have raised outstanding children and performed their civic duties thr0ughout their lives, they often lack the technically picky identity documents to get a voter identification card.  Their stories are not unique, but surprisingly common, shared by millions of Americans:

  • Many were born outside hospitals, and lack birth certificates.  Though no one doubts their life history, the voter laws do not allow usual forms of identification to get a voter card.  These people can get credit cards, can buy and sell property, and can cash checks in their towns.  But the identification used to secure financial transactions do not satisfy the voter identification laws.
  • A significant portion of these people are simply elderly, and gave up driving.  Consequently they lack a current drivers license.  Clearly they cannot get a new drivers license, but they also cannot get a voter identification card without great effort, sometimes without great cost, and almost always, in time to vote in this year’s elections.
  • In Texas, the now-stayed-by-a-federal-court voter ID law allows a handgun license to be used as identification, but not a photo identification from a state college or university.  Among other arguments the courts found convincing in staying the law, in 81 of Texas’s 254 counties, there is no office of any state agency that can issue an accepted voter identification card.  In other words, in a third of Texas counties, it’s impossible to get a valid voter identification card if you don’t already have one.
  • (Updated; see comments) Young people — students, soldiers at basic training, high school graduates still living at home to save money while working to make money — frequently cannot produce the documentation the voter identification laws ask for, like a utility bill in their name.  See the story at Radula, where Dorid discusses one state’s rejecting another state’s birth certificates (as if we hadn’t known that would happen . . .) and other problems; young voters don’t vote as they should, and now we know many who want to vote, will probably be denied.

Meanwhile, from time to time a real case of voter fraud shows up.  I have yet to find one that could have been prevented by voter identification laws.

How many of the voter identification laws were drafted in the smoke-filled, alcohol-laced backrooms of ALEC conferences?

Resources: 

More (with help from Zemanta):


Can you help Ruthelle to keep her right to vote?

April 10, 2012

An 84-year-old Wisconsin woman, told she can’t vote for the first time in 75 years, because she lacks an “appropriate” birth certificate, and perhaps she’s been spelling her name differently from how Wisconsin wants her to spell it, for more than 80 years.

Meanwhile, has anyone ever found any voter fraud that I.D. can stop?

Since voting is a civil liberty, the ACLU is working to keep Ruthelle voting.

Volunteer to help, here.


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