As you know, last week, Hillary Clinton gave a speech in Texas, calling for expanded early voting in all 50 states and for universal voter registration for all eligible U.S. citizens. During the speech, she also called out some of her potential Republican rivals vying for the GOP's 2016 Presidential nomination, among them, former TX Gov. Rick Perry who, Clinton accurately noted, "signed a law that a federal court said was actually written with the purpose of discriminating against minority voters."
She added, Perry "applauded when the Voting Rights Act was gutted [by the Supreme Court] and said the law’s protections were 'outdated and unnecessary'."
Clinton's remarks there were in reference to the Texas Republicans' draconian polling place Photo ID voting restrictions, which, after being passed in 2011, were barred by the Voting Rights Act (VRA) as discriminatory, before the statute was implemented anyway by state Republicans just hours after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the provision of the VRA under which the TX voting restriction had been found in violation of that law. Late last year, after a full trial on the merits of the law, a federal judge subsequently found the law to be in violation of other, still-standing sections of the VRA as well as the U.S. Constitution --- and, perhaps worse still, found it to be purposely discriminatory.
U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos, based on statistics supplied by the state of Texas itself, found the statute could serve to disenfranchise some 800,000 already legally registered voters in the Lone Star state (not to mention hundreds of thousands of others who had yet to register) and slammed both the discriminatory effect and purpose of the law in her written ruling. "The Court holds that SB 14 [the TX GOP's Photo ID restriction] creates an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote, has an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African-Americans, and was imposed with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose," she wrote, adding that the law also "constitutes an unconstitutional poll tax."
On CNN, stammering in response to Clinton calling him out in her speech, Perry failed to explain how either Clinton or Judge Ramos was incorrect. "You need a photo I.D. to get a library book, or to get on an airplane," he incorrectly asserted. (More on that below.) "I think we make it pretty easy in the state of Texas for people to vote, so, you know, again, I don't know what her beef is with the people of the state of Texas about voter I.D."
But there's another point about the TX law that neither Clinton nor Perry noted: its discriminatory effect on women, as highlighted in a Letter to the Editor from this week's Concord Monitor in New Hampshire...
Kudos to Hillary Clinton for calling out Republicans and their ongoing voter suppression efforts. It is as plain as the nose on Rick Perry’s face that the Republican Party wants to inhibit/prohibit Democratic votes.
Generally speaking, women, senior citizens, poor people and people of color are more concerned than the “Lone Stars” about communities, education and fairness, as those groups tend to vote Democratic.
In Texas, for voter ID, you can use your gun license photo ID, but not your student photo ID. Poor people and people of color, most noted a 97-year-old veteran, cannot vote because they don’t have a birth certificate.
The biggest outrage, in my opinion, is the requirement that the name on your photo ID match voter registration precisely. If a woman took her husband’s surname in marriage since she last voted, she has to make a trip to the voter registrar to make certain names are exactly the same. The female judge who first heard the case against the new Texas voter ID law was furious when she checked her own voter registration. Her drivers license photo ID had her maiden name followed by new surname, whereas her voter registration had the middle name she was born with.
The cocky Rick Perrys of the world never even have to give a single thought to such trivia.
Lastly, Gov. Perry, boarding a commercial airplane is not a constitutional right. Voting is.
Heath is absolutely right. As was Hillary Clinton, despite Politifact's absolutely absurd and completely indefensible claim that her assertion was only "Mostly True". (Note: We've sought explanation from the author of the ridiculous Politifact "fact check", their editor Angie Drobnic Holan, though she has yet to respond to our query and invitation to join me on The BradCast to defend her bizarre finding on that and the other statements from Clinton's speech.)
As to Perry's tired canard about "need[ing] a photo I.D....to get on an airplane." As we have long noted, that's complete bullshit. The commercial airplanes aren't about to turned away some 30 million paying customers who don't happen to own a Photo ID in this country. The TSA knows it, and thus has provisions for such travelers --- unlike the state of Texas, which prefers those otherwise legal (if largely Democratic-leaning) voters be unable to cast their otherwise legal vote.
[Hat-tip too-occasional BRAD BLOG guest blogger D.R. Tucker]