Courts invalidate Wisc., Ark. restrictive voter ID laws, while Tex. law reinstated

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by Dmitriy Synkov

The U.S. Supreme court struck down a voter identification law in Wisconsin just 26 days before the November 4 election, citing the difficulty of implementing the law on such short notice. And the Arkansas Supreme Court yesterday unanimously struck down a state voter ID law.

While both rulings were welcomed by voting rights advocates, the one generating the most attention is Wisconsin’s, where Gov. Scott Walker, a voter ID champion, is locked in a too-close-to-call race with former Wisconsin Secretary of Commerce and Madison school board member Mary Burke.

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“It is simply impossible, as a matter of common sense and of logistics, that hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin voters will both learn about the need for photo identification and obtain the requisite identification in the next 36 days,” wrote the federal appeals court judges who invalidated the law.

The law would have required Wisconsin voters to present government-issued photo identification, such as a driver’s license or state-issued identification card. The Supreme Court decision is seen as a blow to Walker’s re-election campaign.

On the same day the Wisconsin ruling was handed down, a federal court in Texas likewise struck down a voter ID law enacted in 2011. That ruling, however, was temporarily blocked by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit just four days later, allowing Texas to enforce the strict voter ID requirement.

U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos, who had invalidated the Texas law, addressed the law’s bias directly:

The Court holds that [Texas’ voter ID law] 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 purpose.

Judge Ramos also called the law an “unconstitutional poll tax.”

Despite protests from Republican elected officials in Texas, Ramos’ opinion is consistent with recent national studies regarding the politically motivated intent of a spate of restrictive voter ID laws pushed by conservative governors and state lawmakers.

A May 2014 study by the University of Southern California found that legislators who favor voter ID laws are motivated by racial bias against Hispanics and African Americans. The study found that they are also less likely to respond to Hispanic constituents’ inquiries or requests.voter suppression 04 11 insert

Just a day after the Oct. 9 ruling, federal Judge Richard Posner of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals released a blistering 43-page dissent condemning voter ID laws and dismissing Republican legislators’ concerns of electoral fraud as “downright goofy, if not paranoid.”

Voter ID laws are ostensibly meant to curb electoral fraud, a problem that independent study after study have repeatedly reminded is a rare occurrence with a negligible effect on election outcomes. The “electoral fraud” reasoning is regarded by election law experts as a scapegoat to restrict African Americans, Hispanics, students, the elderly, and the poor from voting – groups that may not have the financial or logistical means to obtain documentation and that historically do not vote for Republicans.

Voter ID laws are seen by many, including Judge Ramos, as a revival of the Jim Crow-era poll tax, declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1966.

 

Reader Comments

  1. Voting rights are granted by FEDERAL law, which can not be overridden by STATE law. Plain and simple. It’s in the Constitution.

  2. I was not aware that the NEA controlled the Supreme Court Martin Haub nor did I read in the article where the NEA applauded the decision. I applaud the decision because its the right decision. I have attended many state Representative Assemblies as well as NEA RA’s and don’t recall ever having to present a drivers license. Credentials were handled prior to conventions. I do not believe voter fraud is a widespread problem. If someone has evidence to the contrary please provide it.

  3. Ah, leave to the NEA and it’s liberal hypocritical members to applaud the Supreme Court for overturning voter ID laws. Every year when I attended the state Delegate Assembly, or the national Representative Assembly I had to provide proof of who I was – my word wasn’t good enough. I needed to show a driver’s license, passport or some other picture ID. But the NEA doesn’t want it for much more important elections. The reason is obvious: so Democrats can vote illegally. There is voter fraud; even ONE illegal vote is too many. But of course, Obama and his henchmen (Holder) like it that way. Just another reason why a lot of people despise teacher unions.

    1. This misiva is directed directly to a “Mister” Martin Haub,
      The age of “the South Forever” have long since passed… and your Neanderthal bigotry has manifested itself in such a manner that you cannot justify anything else that would spew from your putrified excuse of a brain. I would be willing to bet that you, if you knew how to acquire one, would carry a laminated membership card for the American Nazi Party, the United Klans of America or any one of (or several) other “hate” organizations who oppose the evolution of the United States into a society that promotes social justice and equality. Your idea of “justice” is “just us (the good ol’ boys)”. Why don’t you do all of the rest of us a big favor? Crawl back under that pile of hyenna escrement that you sprang from and die. The World would be a lot cleaner place without you nd your ilk.

      1. Mr Brown, It didn’t take much research to find that ” Martin Haub” could be a Jewish name. That said he would find it hard to get that Nazi or KKK card you mention. You also have three spelling errors in your comments. Are you wondering what else you could be wrong about? Many men and women have died fighting for the right to vote. Getting an ID should be the easy part.

    2. Why does the govt. (state and federal) all require me to show a
      PICTURE GOVT. ID to enter their buildings. I paid for part of them and shouldn’t have to have an Id if the poor blacks, Hispanics, and
      other belly-achers don’t have to have one to vote.

    3. The history of civil rights and justice in this country has been about expanding voting rights, until now. We’re now seeing a backlash against voting rights from those who would suppress the votes of those who they consider unlikely to vote for them, based upon a manufactured, non-existent fear of “fraud”. Shame on them!

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