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Voter ID Law: Guarding the Integrity of Elections
or Disenfranchising Minority Voters?

Texas Attorney General Greg AbbottThe right hand column is an OpEd piece written by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott which appeared in the San Antonio Express-News on Thursday, July 26, 2012.

Texas has more than 50,000 dead people on the voter rolls. At least 239 of them voted in the May 2012 Primary
and 213 of them did so in person!
[Abbott: July 2012]

On FoxNews Abbott said it will cost the voter nothing to get a photo ID. You could even vote provisionally and then go and get a Photo ID from the Department of Public Safety so that your vote will count! You can get the voter ID by taking your voter registration card to your local DPS office and they will give you the ID for free! [March 2012]

The Supreme Court has already said that requiring a photo ID is a "race-neutral way of ensuring integrity at the ballot box." [from Abbott interview with FoxNews above]

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder In July 2012, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told the NAACP convention in Houston that under the Photo ID bill passed in Texas "many of those without IDs would have to travel great distances to get them..." Interestingly enough, delegates to the NAACP convention wanting to hear the Holder speech were required to show a photo ID in order to enter the building!

Holder said that while only 8 percent of white people do not have government-issued photo IDs, about 25 percent of black people lack such identification.
So let me make sure we have this right, 25% of the people who wanted to hear Holder speak were potentially precluded from doing so because they did not have a photo ID?

Holder is also the first U.S. Attorney General to be held in Contempt of Congress, and the head U.S. law enforcement official who has decided not to enforce certain U.S. laws.

The Federal three-judge panel in Washington that is considering the Texas Photo ID bill heard closing arguments in mid-July. They will now spend several weeks – or perhaps months – reviewing testimony before issuing a decision. In an order filed in May the court said that the state could implement the new requirements for the November election if a decision is granted by the end of August. It is more likely, however, that the side that loses the case will appeal it to the U.S. Supreme Court which means the law will not be implemented until 2013 at the earliest.

Texas Photo ID Law Does Not Suppress Votes [Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott]

Some partisans use blustery rhetoric against Texas' voter ID law. But when viewed under a courtroom microscope — under oath — personal beliefs and opinions give way to the proven facts about voter ID: Voter fraud is real, voter ID doesn't suppress votes, and the U.S. Supreme Court has already approved voter ID as a legal, nondiscriminatory response to voter fraud.

As Texas' attorney general, I've prosecuted voter fraud across the state, including people who voted using dead people's names; a candidate who unlawfully registered ineligible foreign nationals to vote; a man who voted twice on Election Day; an election worker who attempted to vote for someone else with the same last name; and a person who used someone else's registration card to vote. In addition to the many cases my office has prosecuted, other county, state and federal authorities have handled countless voter fraud investigations.

The recent voter ID trial revealed even more disturbing voter fraud. Texas has more than 50,000 dead people registered to vote. Even worse, at least 239 dead people voted in the May election — 213 of them in person. State Sen. Tommy Williams testified that ballots have been cast for his long-deceased grandfather. A person even attempted to vote for an inmate.

State Reps. Jose Aliseda and Aaron Peña testified that South Texas is plagued with voter fraud. Rep. Aliseda also testified that non-citizens voted in Bee County elections. In the past year, hundreds of people who claimed they were non-citizens had to be removed from the voter rolls.

Voter ID critics turn a blind eye to illegal voting and instead rail against voter ID as discriminatory and disenfranchising. The facts prove otherwise. Opponents of voter ID were unable to produce a single Texan who would be unable to vote because of the voter ID law. States with voter ID laws have seen minority vote participation increase, not decrease. Texas makes it easy to comply with the law by providing a free photo ID to any eligible voter who doesn't have one. Also, voters who are disabled or older than 65 can vote by mail — so they can vote without a photo ID.

Even the star witness hired to testify against Texas' voter ID law agrees that photo ID laws prevent “almost no one” from voting and has stated that the voting rights concerns raised by partisans who oppose voter ID laws are “overblown.” That star witness also agrees that comparing voter ID laws to Jim Crow and poll tax laws is unjustified.

Just four years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed that voter ID laws are nondiscriminatory and perfectly constitutional. The high court held that even in states unable to prove voter impersonation, voter ID laws are justified by the need to protect the integrity of the election process. The court emphasized that the inconvenience of gathering all the required documents, going to the department of motor vehicles, and posing for a photo is simply not an infringement on the right to vote.

Voter ID laws do not prevent legal votes. Instead, they ensure legal votes are not diluted by illegal ones. Fraudulent voting must be stopped, and voter ID laws will help us stop it.