Not long ago, a federal judge blocked a Texas voter ID law that was so restrictive, it was actually called a poll tax.
“The Court holds that SB 14 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 discriminatory purpose. The court further holds that SB 14 constitutes an unconstitutional poll tax,” U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos wrote in his 147-page decision. The judge found that 600,000 voters, many black or Latino, could find themselves unable to cast their ballots.
True to its nature, though, the state of Texas vowed to keep up the good fight against African Americans’ and Hispanics’ voting rights. A spokeswoman for Texas Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott said the state would be appealing the blocking of this particular poll tax.
“The State of Texas will immediately appeal and will urge the Fifth Circuit to resolve this matter quickly to avoid voter confusion in the upcoming election, Lauren Bean said in an email. “The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that voter ID laws are constitutional so we are confident the Texas law will be upheld on appeal.”
Wendy Davis stood up for the would-be disenfranchised voters in her state, calling the ruling “great news for democracy.” Davis urged Abbott to drop his support of the law “that a court has now called a ‘poll tax’ and ‘discriminatory’ against African-Americans and Hispanics.”
However, as we all knew, that was never going to happen.
On Saturday, the Supreme Court ruled that Texas can use its controversial voter ID law in the November election, with three judges dissenting — Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.
“The greatest threat to public confidence in elections in this case is the prospect of enforcing a purposefully discriminatory law, one that likely imposes an unconstitutional poll tax and risks denying the right to vote to hundreds of thousands of eligible voters,” Ginsburg wrote.
Under the law, a Texas driver’s license or state ID that is not more than 60 days expired, a U.S. passport, military ID card, citizenship certificate with photo, and even a concealed carry permit is permissible. However, other IDs, which are fine in other states with similar laws, are not permitted — including college student IDs.
Recently, Republicans have been complaining that it’s too easy for African-Americans to vote, Some have even claimed victory despite a staggering loss because too many of their opponents’ votes came from suspected black people. A recent poll showed that white people are more likely to support voter ID laws when they are shown pictures of black people voting, so it is unsurprising that the Party of White People would be in favor of anything that restrict that.
All-in-all, this is a win for the GOP, who want to keep likely Democratic voters as far away from the polls as possible. After all, if you cant win…cheat, right?