Jim Wright is seldom in the news these days, but the 90-year-old former Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives is a giant figure in Texas political lore. Wright served the Lone Star State for 34 years, and was Speaker of the US House of Representatives from 1987 to 1989. While his career ended in somewhat of a political scandal, he was still venerated in his home state. He became a professor at Texas Christian University where he teaches a course titled, “Congress and the Presidents.”
In 2004, Wright was honored by the state of Texas with induction into the Texas Trail Hall of Fame where the monument displayed in his honor says simply, “Fort Worth Loves Him!” One would expect this elderly gentleman to be treated as an honored son of Texas and would literally have the red carpets rolled out when he arrives at the polling place to cast his vote.
You would think! In reality, with the new stringent voter ID laws (similar to other laws sweeping red states recently), Wright, was denied a voter id registration card. According to today’s edition of USA Today,
“The 90-year-old told the newspaper he realized last week that he didn’t have a valid ID to vote in Tuesday’s elections. He said he was refused a voter ID card because his driver’s license expired in 2010 and his faculty identification from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, where he teaches, doesn’t meet requirements under the state law enacted in 2011.”
Now Representative Wright is not a man without resources and connections, so at this time he has been assured that his situation will be resolved before he goes to the polls Tuesday to cast his ballot in State and National elections. And while Wright was gracious when discussing his situation with the press, he made sure to stress his feelings about Voter ID Laws in general,
“I earnestly hope these unduly stringent requirements on voters won’t dramatically reduce the number of people who vote,” said Wright, who in the early part of his political career pushed to abolish the poll tax. “I think they will reduce the number to some extent.”
It was just in the past two weeks that Democratic Gubernatorial candidate, Wendy Davis, was forced to sign an affidavit because the name on her driver’s license did not match the name of the Texas voter rolls. Davis will be allowed to vote on a regular ballot tomorrow, but this issue remains. Many of you will remember Wendy Davis from her proud stand on the statehouse floor, filibustering strongly, recent flagrant attempts by the Texas State Legislature to “repeal” Roe v. Wade via over-bearing restrictions on abortion providers.
But the true tragedy here is not Davis, nor is it Representative Wright — it’s the thousands upon thousands of regular Americans who will be denied access to the polls in coming elections because of the spate of draconian laws limiting access to the polls for many seniors, minorities, students and married women all across the United States. It’s well known that these laws, allegedly created to stop an epidemic of “voter fraud” that doesn’t exist, are actually designed to keep Democrats from voting.
America needs to find ways to get more people in the voting booths, not fewer.