The on again, off again voter ID law in Texas has now been flipped more times than a political position held by Kirsten Gillibrand. The first version of the bill from a few years ago was shot down by the courts, but after going back for some fine tuning it was launched yet again. The second attempt was also put on hold in district court, but this week a federal appeals court has reversed that decision and put the law into effect. (Washington Times)
A federal appeals court ruled Friday that Texas’s new version of its voter-ID law can go into effect, rebuking a lower court judge for trying to block the law and delivering a significant victory to voter-integrity advocates.
The original law passed earlier this decade had been blocked after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals concluded both its purpose and effect was to punish minority voters.
But the state legislature went back and made changes, and the 5th Circuit, in a 2-1 ruling, now says the new version cures what ailed the previous one.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton hailed the ruling.
The changes to SB-5 may appear to water it down in the eyes of some critics, but it does manage to address the concerns raised by the 5th Circuit over the original law. First, the court originally found that the number of allowable types of ID was insufficient to cover all citizens. While I find that complaint rather strange, assuming that every Texas resident has the same right to apply for an ID, they are now allowing additional types. Texas is also allowing people to at least cast a provisional ballot with an ID which is expired. Perhaps most importantly, the law provides for mobile units to issue free ID to qualifying people who might not be otherwise able to afford one. The lack of a free ID option for citizens amounts the equivalent of a poll tax, so free ID should be included in any state’s voter ID laws.
While we’ve been down this road before, I’m still left wondering why Democrats and liberals continue to fight laws such as this one even when they are corrected to meet the concerns of the courts. Even if you somehow still believe that voter fraud never happens or that non-citizens never vote (both of these myths have been disproven), what is the downside to this? There seems to be this ubiquitous belief among liberals that minorities are somehow unable to obtain a valid ID if they wish to vote. That’s never made sense to me. We’re talking about a free ID card. You just have to ask for it.
How is that discriminatory in any way? Perhaps someday an answer to that mystery will come along.