Texas voter ID law not as dead as you were told

The new Texas voter ID law (which addressed issues raised about the original bill from a couple of years ago) was shot down shortly before it was to go into effect by a U.S. district court judge. Liberal activists around the nation celebrated the decision because wanting to know if the people voting are actually who they claim to be is apparently racist. So at least that matter is settled, right?

Not so fast, kids. The injunction preventing the law from going into effect received a second look by an appeals court in New Orleans and the law was, at least for now, resurrected. (Reuters)

The state of Texas won at least a temporary victory on Tuesday in its bid to implement a controversial voter identification law when a federal appeals court stayed a ruling by a U.S. district court judge that barred its enforcement.

A three-member panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans voted 2-1 to put the lower court judge’s ruling on hold while it considers the constitutionality of the law, which was passed this year by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature.

That bill was meant to fix elements of a 2011 voter ID measure that was considered one of the strictest in the United States and subject to years of court challenges during the Obama administration.

There’s a reason that every description of this judgement in the media is using so many qualifiers such as temporarily or, “at least for now.” This was not a finding which gave the law a clean bill of constitutional health, but rather a case of placing the hold on hold. The injunction previously ordered has been lifted while the court further studies the issue.

The fact that it was lifted while this examination takes place, however, probably gives us an indication of which way they’re leaning. The judge penning the ruling stated that Texas had made, “a strong showing that it is likely to succeed on the merits.”

So is this still an effort to solve a non-existent problem as liberals love to say? Perhaps the judges caught wind of a recent report picked up by Deroy Murdock at National Review. If you’re not curious as to whether or not voters are actually who they say they are, consider the number of counties where the total number of registered voters actually exceeds the number of living residents of eligible age.

My tabulation of Judicial Watch’s state-by-state results yielded 462 counties where the registration rate exceeded 100 percent. There were 3,551,760 more people registered to vote than adult U.S. citizens who inhabit these counties.

“That’s enough over-registered voters to populate a ghost-state about the size of Connecticut,” Judicial Watch attorney Robert Popper told me.

The Texas law is a good first step but it only attacks the potential problem from one side. Doing more to ensure that the correct individuals are signing in at the polling place is a corrective measure on election day, but much of the confusion could be ameliorated by diligently cleaning up the existing voter rolls. It would be a massive undertaking initially, but once done it would be significantly less resource intensive to maintain. The majority of the work, as we’ve discussed here before, could be handled with a few simple changes to the registration forms used at the DMV in every state. But if the will doesn’t exist to do so we’ll be stuck chasing the problem from behind as Texas is doing now.