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Tue Jan 21, 2014, 08:54 PM

Texas would be covered under proposed amendment to Voting Rights Act

I personally do not think that this amendment has a chance of passage but last week a bipartisan group of congresspersons proposed an amendment to the Voting Rights Act that would undo the damage inflicted by the SCOTUS in the Shelby County case. http://txredistricting.org/post/73550604374/proposed-vra-amendments-would-return-texas-to The act has some good stuff and some not-so good stuff but one of the key provisions would be that Texas and three other states would automatically be subject to preclearance.

Under the proposed amendments, states and local entities would be required to submit voting changes for preclearance before putting them into effect if they met the conditions of two new statutory triggers.

For states, preclearance coverage would be triggered “if 5 or more voting rights violations occurred in the State during the previous 15 calendar years, at least one of which was committed by the State itself (as opposed to a political subdivision within the State).”

Currently, four states - Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi - would be covered under the new formula.


There is no way that this amendment is going to pass. Remember Greg Abbott is taking the position in the Texas redistricting case that the Texas GOP is discriminating for partisan purposes which is okay in his opinion http://www.nationalmemo.com/texas-attorney-general-texas-didnt-discriminate-against-minorities-only-against-democrats/

Texas’ defense does not deny that Texas engaged in discrimination, but it does deny that it did so on the basis of race.

Greg Abbott backed up Texas, explaining: “In 2011, both houses of the Texas Legislature were controlled by large Republican majorities, and their redistricting decisions were designed to increase the Republican Party’s electoral prospects at the expense of the Democrats.”

In other words: The state’s Republican Party was trying to water down Democratic votes, not those of minorities.


Here is a great quote from the brief filed by Texas
http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/texas-struggles-defend-discriminatory

From the brief filed by the state:

DOJ’s accusations of racial discrimination are baseless. In 2011, both houses of the Texas Legislature were controlled by large Republican majorities, and their redistricting decisions were designed to increase the Republican Party’s electoral prospects at the expense of the Democrats….The redistricting decisions of which DOJ complains were motivated by partisan rather than racial considerations, and the plaintiffs and DOJ have zero evidence to prove the contrary.


Got that? Texas wasn’t trying to discriminate against racial and ethnic minorities; Texas was simply trying to discriminate against racial and ethnic minorities who vote for Democrats.

In other words, Texas’ defense is that state policymakers were trying to crush the Democratic vote, and this led to inadvertent discrimination against African Americans and Latinos. As such, the argument goes, Texas was motivated by crass partisanship, and not racism, so the discrimination doesn’t really count.


I personally do not believe that the GOP will vote to save the Voting Rights Act because the amendment would subject Texas to pre-clearance.

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Reply Texas would be covered under proposed amendment to Voting Rights Act (Original post)
Gothmog Jan 2014 OP
PDittie Jan 2014 #1
Gothmog Jan 2014 #2
Gothmog Jan 2014 #3
Gothmog Jan 2014 #4

Response to Gothmog (Original post)

Tue Jan 21, 2014, 09:08 PM

1. Kevin Drum agrees with you

And now for the big question: does this legislation have any chance of passing? It doesn't seem likely. The shiny new formula might satisfy Justice Roberts, but it would put four deep-red states back into pre-clearance jail: Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. And what would Republicans get in return? They seem to have given up entirely on appealing to non-white voters, so there's nothing for them there. And while it's one thing to feel obliged to vote in favor of renewing a historic law that's currently on the books, as most Republicans did in 2006, it's quite another to invite a vote that you don't have to take in the first place.

So the odds seem pretty long against reviving pre-clearance. That may be a helluva note to usher in Martin Luther King Jr. Day with, but it's most likely the truth. Now that blacks and Hispanics identify so overwhelmingly as Democrats, Republicans simply have no incentive to make it easier for them to vote. Nor does it seem possible to shame them into doing it, as it was even eight years ago. The GOP has simply changed too much since 2006.


www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/01/voting-rights-act-revive-supreme-court-congress

Good link there to Ari Berman's piece in The Nation also.

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Response to PDittie (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 21, 2014, 09:30 PM

2. This is not rocket science

There is simply no way that the GOP members of the Texas delegation is going to vote for this amendment. Cornyn and Carnival Cruz will filibuster this amendment and I doubt that there are 60 votes to approve this amendment. I agree with Drum's assessment that the GOP has given up on getting minority votes for the foreseeable future

This may change if Texas is "bailed in" to pre-clearance under Section 3 of the VRA due to either the voter id or the redistricting lawsuits. If Texas has nothing to lose, the Texas delegation will not have a motivation to block this amendment. In addition, seeing some states being "bailed in" may encourage some other red states to vote for this amendment. The Texas voter id lawsuit goes to trial on September 2, 2014 and in the next couple of weeks we should be getting a decision in the Section 2 case dealing with the Wisconsin voter id law. A victory in either of these two cases combined with the ruling in the PA voter id case may put some pressure on the GOP to consider this amendment

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Response to Gothmog (Original post)

Wed Jan 22, 2014, 08:23 PM

3. Senator Cornyn is against the proposed fix to the Voting Rights Act

It should surprise no one that Cornyn is against fixing the Voting Rights Act http://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/headlines/20140121-cornyn-opposes-bipartisan-plan-to-revive-voting-rights-act.ece

With the Voting Rights Act hobbled by the Supreme Court, Sen. John Cornyn rejected a new bipartisan plan Tuesday to restore intense federal oversight of elections in Texas and three other states.

“It discriminates against Texas,” Cornyn told The Dallas Morning News’ editorial board.

It was the first time he weighed in on a plan to modernize the landmark 1965 law by updating the formula used to pick that states warrant extra scrutiny.

Does anyone want to predict how Carnival Cruz would vote on this issue?

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Response to Gothmog (Original post)

Wed Jan 29, 2014, 06:43 PM

4. Michael Li has some good coverage on this proposed amendment

Here is a good summary of the Texas press coverage on this amendment http://txredistricting.org/post/74895220111/texas-election-law-round-up

A proposal to fix the Voting Rights Act may have been introduced in Congress, but the Dallas Morning News reports that Senator John Cornyn has already let people know that he’s having none of it because “it discriminates against Texas.”

Cornyn’s reaction prompted MSNBC commentator Melissa Harris- Perry to send Cornyn an open letter in rebuttal telling him the new coverage formula is “really not about discriminating against Texas. It is about Texas’ history of discriminating against its own voters.”

Meanwhile, the Dallas Morning News editorial board called the proposed updates “a much needed fix.

The Waco Herald-Tribune editorial board agreed, saying that VRA amendments were worthy of support and that “if that puts Texas back on the short list of states needing federal pre-clearance— well, blame our state leaders and the way they bungled what should have been far better laws in terms of voter photo ID and redistricting.”

The San Antonio Express-News editorial board also agreed, writing that Texas was a “poster boy” for why the act was still needed.

However, Attorney General Eric Holder - while liking the bill overall - told MSNBC’s Ari Melber that proposed fixes to the Voting Rights Act should go further and allow voter ID violations found by the Justice Department (and not just by a court) to count toward the new section 4 trigger.

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