Texas passed a law hoping to have photo voter ID ready for the 2012 elections. The Justice Department may well stop that from happening, and DOJ has laid down a mighty hurdle to it ever becoming law.
Because Texas is a covered state under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, either the Justice Department or a federal court must approve election law changes. I and others here at PJ Media have been advocating that Texas go to court to obtain approval and bypass DOJ. Why? Because stopping Voter ID has become the number one issue of groups like the SEIU and NAACP ahead of next year’s election, and they have a direct pipeline into the DOJ Civil Rights Division.
States which go to court get results, quickly. States which go to DOJ get played with. Officials who submit to DOJ presuming that voter ID will be precleared don’t have their eyes fixed on the horizon at the gathering left wing storm against Voter ID. Stopping voter ID is the top priority of the civil rights left and vote fraud deniers.
Texas made an enormous mistake submitting voter ID to DOJ, and now Texas may pay the price. DOJ has made a “more information request.” This means they are probing Texas for data and will not even possibly approve the law unless Texas provides data satisfactory to the bureaucrats inside the DOJ Voting Section. (Actually this law has most certainly been “red filed” and will be subject to direct political oversight). Even if Texas coughs up data, DOJ can still play with it for 60 days before an objection. More likely, DOJ will use the data Texas provides to justify an inevitable objection against the law. We will be approaching spring before DOJ must act.
Academics have suggested that filing a submission with DOJ is faster and cheaper. Like the spider to the fly, they claim the DOJ’s web is a perfectly friendly forum. In reality, as Texas may soon find out, it may be fatal to their Voter ID law. Because Texas will not be back in legislative session, the more information request make it less likely that Voter ID will be used in the 2012 elections in Texas.
It was an avoidable mistake to submit this law to DOJ, a big avoidable mistake.
The solution? Withdraw the submission immediately. Do it by fax. Do not turn over a scrap of information to DOJ. Force them to obtain it in discovery, subject to the Rules of Civil Procedure. Go before a fair federal judge and enjoy the benefits of clearly defined rules of discovery and the restraints that a court of law will put on the DOJ.
A final note, the opponents of Voter ID are launching a national coalition against the idea on December 10. Why that day? Enter a United Nations celebration:
A coalition of nearly 20 organizations, including the NAACP and the National Urban League, announced they have launched a “Stand for Freedom” voting rights campaign and also a major mobilization on Dec. 10— United Nations Human Rights Day — to protest what they say is an attack on voting rights throughout the country. . . .
The announcement came at New York City’s City Hall earlier this month. Other top leaders present for the occasion included Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League; the Rev. Al Sharpton, president of the National Action Council; Lillian Rodríguez López, president of the Hispanic Federation; Margaret Fung, executive director, Asian-American Legal Defense & Education Fund; Michael Mulgrew, president, United Federation of Teachers; George Gresham, president of Local 1199 of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU); and Donna Lieberman, president, New York Civil Liberties Union.