2:41 pm CST - February 06, 2012

Capitol Steps From Rep. Ken Paxton

Texas Insider Report: AUSTIN, Texas –
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott issued a press release on Monday of last week regarding the case he filed in a D.C. Court seeking approval of our State’s voter identification law. He argues that the U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that voter identification laws are constitutional. However, under the current administration, the U.S. Department of Justice has adopted a position opposing Texas’ right to adopt such measures that would protect the integrity of our elections process.

During the 82nd Legislative Session, the Texas Legislature passed the Voter ID Bill (Senate Bill 14), which I proudly co-sponsored with many of my colleagues, to deter and detect election fraud. As a result of this law, which passed the Texas House overwhelmingly with 68% in favor with bi-partisan support, voters will be required to show a form of photo identification when voting.

However, provisions in this bill allow anyone who is disabled or over the age of 65 to vote by mail, which allows them to use main-in ballots without having to obtain a photo identification.

Because the federal Voting Rights Act prohibits changes to Texas election laws from being implemented until they are granted “preclearance” by either the Department of Justice or the federal courts, Texas is unable to move forward with enforcing this law.

According to General Abbott, while Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade sought preclearance from the Department of Justice on July 25, 2011, the Obama Administration has twice delayed the approval process and is still holding the matter under review.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a similar voter identification law in Indiana, and ruled that the law was justified because “flagrant examples” of election fraud have been documented throughout U.S. history. The Supreme Court also said it is not too much to ask of voters to present a photo identification and made it clear that these requirements are nondiscriminatory.

Unfortunately, the recent trend in Washington has been to limit our state’s ability to govern itself, impose additional federal regulations that are detrimental to job creation and economic growth, ignore border security and changes to immigration laws, and now delay efforts that will promote election integrity.

Hopefully the federal courts will rule in a manner that will allow Texans to govern Texas so that we can be responsive to the needs of our citizens.

One Old Vet

Texas Insider » Voter ID Law Update: Texas Seeks Quick Enforcement