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.