Things That Make Me Smile
(Editorial cartoon by Joel Pett / Lexington Herald-Leader (August 20, 2012) and featured at McClatchy DC. Click on image to enlarge and then please return.)
It's nice to come across some good news, especially during a week which has been as frustrating as this one has been. This good news came from a Federal Court in Texas.
For the second time this week, a federal court here has blocked a Texas election law as discriminatory under the Voting Rights Act.
A three-judge federal court said Texas may not enforce its strict voter identification law, ruling it would discriminate against poor and minority voters and have the effect of barring them from voting.
The judges said the new law would require tens of thousands of registered Texas voters who are poor and do not drive cars to travel to a state motor vehicle office to obtain the required state photo ID card. And one-third of Texas counties do not have a Department of Public Safety (DPS) office, they noted.
“Even the most committed citizen, we think, would agree that a 200- to 250-mile round trip — especially for would-be voters having no driver’s license — constitutes a substantial burden on the right to vote,” said Judge David Tatel in unanimous opinion.
He noted that about 13% of the state’s black voters, and 7% of its Latinos, do not have an automobile in the household. And the state drivers’ license offices are not open on weekends.
“Poorer citizens, especially those working for hourly wages, will likely be less able to take time off work to travel to a DPS office,” Tatel said. “A law that forces poorer citizens to choose between their wages and their franchise unquestionably denies or abridges the right to vote.” [Consider the entire block quoted in bold type.]
I quoted the article extensively because the court's reasoning is so solid and so fact-based that I am hopeful the Supreme Court will refuse to hear the case or will uphold the decision if it does grant the writ.
The facts and the conclusion make it ever so clear that the law was intentionally and purposefully intended to suppress the vote of those who just might vote Democratic. And this Texas law (and the kinds of facts described) is just as oppressive as the laws in Florida, Pennsylvania, and the other states where the Republican led state legislatures have rammed through similar laws.
Hopefully the Department of Justice will take a look at those laws and start pushing there as well.