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Thu Aug 22, 2013, 11:42 AM

Department of Justice to sue Texas over Voter ID law

http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2013/August/13-ag-952.html

Justice Department to File New Lawsuit Against State of Texas Over Voter I.D. Law
The Department of Justice announced today that it will file a new lawsuit against the State of Texas, the Texas Secretary of State, and the Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety over the State’s strict voter photo identification law (SB 14). The United States’ complaint seeks a declaration that SB 14 violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, as well as the voting guarantees of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

Separately, the Department is filing a motion to intervene as a party and a complaint in intervention against the State of Texas and the Texas Secretary of State in the ongoing case of Perez v. Perry (W.D. Tex.), which concerns the state’s redistricting laws. The United States had already filed a statement of interest in this case last month. Today’s action represents a new step by the Department in this case that will allow the United States to formally present evidence about the purpose and effect of the Texas redistricting plans.

“Today’s action marks another step forward in the Justice Department’s continuing effort to protect the voting rights of all eligible Americans,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “We will not allow the Supreme Court’s recent decision to be interpreted as open season for states to pursue measures that suppress voting rights. The Department will take action against jurisdictions that attempt to hinder access to the ballot box, no matter where it occurs. We will keep fighting aggressively to prevent voter disenfranchisement. We are determined to use all available authorities, including remaining sections of the Voting Rights Act, to guard against discrimination and, where appropriate, to ask federal courts to require preclearance of new voting changes. This represents the Department’s latest action to protect voting rights, but it will not be our last.”

In the voter ID lawsuit, the United States’ complaint contends that SB 14 was adopted with the purpose, and will have the result, of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group. The complaint asks the court to prohibit Texas from enforcing the requirements of its law, and also requests that the court order bail-in relief under Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act. If granted, this would subject Texas to a new preclearance requirement.

In the Department’s other filing announced today, the United States seeks a declaration that Texas’s 2011 redistricting plans for the U.S. Congress and the Texas State House of Representatives were adopted with the purpose of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group in violation of Section 2, as well as the voting guarantees of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. The complaint also requests that the court order bail-in pursuant to Section 3(c) of the Voting Rights Act, to remedy persistent, intentional discrimination in voting within the State of Texas.

“The Department of Justice will use all the tools it has available to ensure that each citizen can cast a ballot free from impermissible discrimination,” said Jocelyn Samuels, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The right to the franchise is one of the most fundamental promises of American democracy.”

If the federal courts in either the redistricting or voter identification cases find that the State of Texas should be covered by Section 3(c), then the State would be required to submit voting changes to the U.S. Attorney General or to the federal court for review prior to implementation to ensure that the changes do not have a discriminatory effect or a discriminatory purpose. The Department has previously participated as amicus in the Perez case, and last month advised the federal court in Texas that the Department believed the imposition of a new preclearance requirement on Texas under Section 3(c) of the Voting Rights Act was appropriate. Today’s filing asks the Court to allow the Department to participate as a party in further proceedings on the question of whether Texas should be made subject to Section 3(c).

A federal court in the District of Columbia has previously held that Texas had failed to meet its burden of proving that its 2011 redistricting plans and its 2011 voter identification law were not discriminatory under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. These decisions were vacated after the Supreme Court’s June decision in Shelby County v. Holder. The Supreme Court’s decision left unaffected the non-discrimination requirements of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, as well as the bail-in provisions of Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act, and today’s filings seek to enforce those important protections.

The filings in the Texas redistricting and Texas voter identification matters will be available on the Civil Rights Division’s website later today. More information about the Voting Rights Act and other federal voting laws is available on the Department of Justice website at www.justice.gov/crt/about/vot/. Complaints about discriminatory voting practices may be reported to the Voting Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division at 1-800-253-3931.

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Arrow 15 replies Author Time Post
Reply Department of Justice to sue Texas over Voter ID law (Original post)
Gothmog Aug 2013 OP
Gothmog Aug 2013 #1
Melissa G Aug 2013 #2
Triana Aug 2013 #3
TexasTowelie Aug 2013 #4
Gothmog Aug 2013 #6
Triana Aug 2013 #8
TexasTowelie Aug 2013 #5
Gothmog Aug 2013 #7
Gothmog Aug 2013 #9
Gothmog Aug 2013 #10
Rstrstx Aug 2013 #11
DhhD Aug 2013 #12
Gothmog Aug 2013 #13
Rstrstx Aug 2013 #15
HelenWheels Aug 2013 #14

Response to Gothmog (Original post)

Thu Aug 22, 2013, 12:05 PM

1. Here is the story from the Houston Paper

http://www.chron.com/news/texas/article/Gov-t-to-sue-Texas-over-voter-ID-law-4752989.php?cmpid=hpbn

....In the voter ID lawsuit, the U.S. government will contend that Texas adopted a voter identification law with the purpose of denying or restricting the right to vote on account of race, color or membership in a language minority group.

Intervening in the redistricting case would enable the federal government to present evidence about the purpose and effect of the Texas redistricting plans. A federal court in Washington, D.C., has previously held that Texas failed to meet its burden of proving that its 2011 redistricting plans and its 2011 voter identification law were not discriminatory.

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Response to Gothmog (Original post)

Thu Aug 22, 2013, 12:55 PM

2. Happy to be rec #5!

Voter ID stinks!!!

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Response to Gothmog (Original post)

Thu Aug 22, 2013, 01:39 PM

3. Yet they're ignoring NC, whose voter suppression laws are at least a bit worse.

 

DOJ should sue them all.

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Response to Triana (Reply #3)

Thu Aug 22, 2013, 02:59 PM

4. +∞

Yes, it looks like they will need to add North Carolina and Wisconsin to the list at DOJ also.

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Response to Triana (Reply #3)

Thu Aug 22, 2013, 03:04 PM

6. Texas is first because the DOJ has some court rulings that it can use

Here is an explanation as to why Texas was first.
http://editors.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2013/08/north_carolina_next.php

It seems pretty clear that the Justice Department is testing out the extent of its powers under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act against Texas first because Texas is a much stronger case. It’s not easy to prove intentional discrimination, which is the bar that DOJ must now meet, since the Supreme Court’s June decision that Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act was unconstitutional. But lucky for DOJ, a federal court has already ruled in an earlier case that a Texas redistricting map was deliberately discriminatory. That gives DOJ a leg up as it argues that Texas should be subjected to stricter oversight under the law. Today’s new effort by DOJ to block the Texas voter ID law follows the same basic theory.


It is hard to prove intentional discrimination and there were judicial findings of discrimination in the Texas cases. The DOJ will have an easier time in Texas but it appears clear that North Carolina will be targeted.

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Response to Gothmog (Reply #6)

Thu Aug 22, 2013, 05:12 PM

8. Ah - hah. Thanks! n/t

 

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Response to Gothmog (Original post)

Thu Aug 22, 2013, 03:00 PM

5. Great news.

Thanks for posting Gothmog.

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Response to Gothmog (Original post)

Thu Aug 22, 2013, 04:50 PM

7. The DOJ is seeking to appoint election observers

One of the remedies being requested by the DOJ is the appointment of federal election inspectors http://txredistricting.org/post/59034004660/copy-of-doj-lawsuit-challenging-texas-photo-voter-id

In addition to asking the court to enjoin enforcement of the law, the complaint also asks the court to authorize appointment of federal election observers in Texas and to retain jurisdiction for purposes of a bail-in claim under section 3 of the Voting Rights Act

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Response to Gothmog (Original post)

Thu Aug 22, 2013, 06:43 PM

9. Greg Abbott is lying about the Voter id law

Greg Abbott has responded to the DOJ’s decision to file suit on Texas’ voter id law by claiming that a recent case of voter fraud shows that this law is necessary. http://txredistricting.org/post/59048626661/texas-attorney-general-greg-abbotts-press-statement-on

“Just days after the U.S. Department of Justice arrested a Texas woman for illegally voting five times in the same election, the Obama administration is suing to stop Texas’ commonsense voter ID law. The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that voter ID laws do not suppress legal votes, but do help prevent illegal votes. Voter IDs have nothing to do with race and they are free to anyone who needs one. Eric Holder’s outrageous claim that voter ID is a racist plot to disenfranchise minority voters is gutter politics and is offensive to the overwhelming majority of Texans of all races who support this ballot integrity measure.


The case in question involved absentee ballot fraud and Texas’ voter id law would have done nothing to stop this fraud http://www.brownsvilleherald.com/news/local/article_6b379594-0a6c-11e3-917e-0019bb30f31a.html

According to the indictment against Solis, she voted in the names of Samuel Pedraza, Francisco Pedraza, Cynthia Pedraza, Dannie Vargas and Issic Guerra in that primary runoff by absentee ballot.


SB 14 does not apply to or deal with absentee voting or voting by mail.

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Response to Gothmog (Reply #9)

Fri Aug 23, 2013, 03:31 PM

10. Juanita Jean is also calling Greg Abbot a liar

http://juanitajean.com/2013/08/23/its-not-like-texas-cant-be-trusted-or-anything/

You do not have to show a voter ID to vote by absentee ballot. See what I mean about Gregg Abbott not being able to read to the end of a sentence? His vicious law would do diddle squat to stop this.

And as far as picture ID’s being free, that’s true. They are free as long as you have $21 for a certified birth certificate and all day to stand in line at the DMV.

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Response to Gothmog (Original post)

Sat Aug 24, 2013, 01:54 AM

11. Wonder why they don't go after it as a violation of the 24th Amendment instead?

Since you have to pay a "fee" (which I'm sure John Roberts would agree is just another way of saying "tax" to get a certified birth certificate they could argue the state is placing a tax on a potential voter and is thus in violation of the 24th Amendment (the Poll Tax Amendment)

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Response to Rstrstx (Reply #11)

Sat Aug 24, 2013, 09:26 AM

12. In my opinion, Removal of Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act, would allow

Texas government officials the right to call in armed militia to remove people from being in line, waiting to vote, in order to look at their voting papers or ID, or remove them from the area to take them to a lock-up, or just remove then from the area, and scare off and threaten elderly voters and and any one else on a targeted list, let's say you skin is to dark. Kind of like singing at a state Capital but instead, the citizen with would be WAITING in line to vote. Singing and waiting are the same thing to Texas thugs because they see it as you are detaining yourself (self incrimination); their prey.

Federal protection and poll watchers were needed in Texas last 2012 election.

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Response to Gothmog (Reply #13)

Sat Aug 24, 2013, 01:06 PM

15. Good

To me it seems easier to make the case in court. Proving the law violates the VRA requires showing a willful intent on the part of the legislators of discrimination but if can you show the law imposes a tax that strikes it down immediately.

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Response to Gothmog (Original post)

Sat Aug 24, 2013, 10:29 AM

14. To my Texas brothers and sisters

I am hoping you will win this case. Wisconsin, my state, is doing the same things to cut out Democratic voters. If you win, it will help us. Good luck.

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