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Texas Voter Id Law

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Azalea Garcia

Pol. 1133-005

Professor Henry Esparza

9 October 2015

                                               Texas Voter ID Law

The photo ID law, requiring a photo ID in order to vote has been controversial topic throughout the United States. Especially in Texas, because Texas has background of showing some discrimination against minority voters. In the Voting Rights Act, according to section five certain states including Texas had to get approval to make changes to the election requirements, because of the background of discrimination. Almost immediately after the Shelby County v. Holder case, which fought that section five limited states’ rights to self-govern, Texas put the photo ID law into action, “within hours, Texas announced that it would implement SB 14,” (Texas NAACP v. Steen (consolidated with Veasey v. Perry)).Many argue that this law is to reduce minority voter turnout, while some argue it is to prevent voter fraud and double voting. Both arguments are cloudy and cannot be clearly proven. Some argue that obtaining an ID is not difficult while others struggle to obtain one. In some states that have passed this law they accept multiple forms of photo IDs such as a college ID. Texas on the other hand only accept one of seven specific forms of IDs. Some argue that obtaining an ID is not difficult while others struggle to obtain one. Is this law to prevent fraud and double voting or to prevent certain minorities from voting? The law is still being debated regarding discrimination today.

The United States and the federal laws place boundaries on voter qualifications the states make. Without boundaries and laws states could prevent certain people from voting, which could cause people to start riots. Section five of the Voting Rights Act restricted the state’s rights to self-government before being removed as unconstitutional. The fifteenth amendment states that the state cannot prevent a person from voting based on their race. Every state is also required to allow the same voters to vote in all elections. States are also not allowed to set an age above eighteen as a minimum requirement to vote according to the twenty-sixth amendment. The nineteenth amendment gave women the right to vote, making it unlawful to discriminate because of gender. Before the twenty-fourth amendment taxes had to be paid before voting which prevented mainly poor African Americans from voting, now people can vote even if they owe taxes. The United States constitution limits the state’s power on election requirements with amendments that protect people’s vote from being rejected because of race, taxes, or gender.

The purpose for the Texas voter ID law is to prevent fraud and keep voting accurate. The Texas voter ID law is consistent with these federal standards regarding the age limit and gender. On the other hand, it may not be consistent with the twenty- fourth amendment regarding taxes, unless the state provides free IDs then it is basically equal to paying a tax before you are able to cast a vote. Paying for IDs could also be restricting some voters from their voting rights making the lay inconsistent with the federal standards and constitution. In the Huffington Post Ryan P. Haygood claimed, “the evidence in this case demonstrated that the law, like its poll tax ancestor, imposes real costs, and unjustified, disparate burdens” on Texas voters which includes “a substantial percentage of” “voters of color.” (qtd. In Sam Hart). The Texas photo ID law was taken to the courts they “unanimously found that the law discriminated against minority voters” (Texas NAACP v. Steen (consolidated with Veasey v. Perry)).

The state of Texas already has one the lowest voter turnout rates only ahead of 3 other states. The National rate stands at 58.2 percent while Texas lags behind with 49.7 percent in 2012(Ramsey). I think the Texas Photo ID law will result in lower voter turnout and lower minority votes. Corrie MacLaggan a Texas Tribune news editor said, “Hispanics are expected to be a plurality of the state population by 2020”. Since Texas is predicted to have a majority of Hispanics the photo ID law could greatly affect voter turnouts. Many of the Latino and African American citizens are poor and cannot afford to spend an extra couple of dollars to buy an ID. Some states provide free IDs, but still require a birth certificate which some Latino or African Americans do not have or may be difficult to obtain. Latinos make up almost half of Texas’s population and is expected to be a majority of the population in a few years. The Latino population has the lowest voter turnout rate, and a majority of the population do not have an approved ID, which can greatly impact and change voter turnout.  According to a study by The University of Houston and Rice University did a survey over 400 people that did not vote, 12.8% of the 400 people did not vote because they did not have a photo ID. Even though it was the least selected reason it adds up can greatly affect voter turnout.

I don’t like the Texas Photo ID law because some people do not access to get one and it lowers voter turnout in Latino Communities. I think Texas passed this law to lower voter turnout in the Latino population and other minorities. The Texas photo ID law takes away voting rights of some people mainly Latinos, this situation is similar to how taxes had to be paid before voting which restricted the poor African Americans. The Hispanic population is growing rapidly and plays an important part of Texas, losing the Hispanic population vote could greatly affect Texas. The photo ID law seems to be causing more problems than voter fraud was causing before. However, this is no clear proof that the photo ID law was created to prevent certain groups from voting. Some argue that making IDs a requirement will prevent fraud, double voting, and prevent felons from voting, but voter fraud rarely happens. Some voter fraud cases turn out to be just a simple mistake, a simple typo. The Texas photo ID law violates citizen’s rights to vote especially the Hispanic population which will greatly affect Texas in the future.

Works Cited

“Shelby County v. Holder.” Oyez. Chicago-Kent College of Law at Illinois Tech, n.d. Oct. 7, 2015. https://www.oyez.org/cases/2012/12-96

Hart, Sam. “ The Texas Voter ID Law Explained- Texas Monthly. Texas Monthly. Texas Monthly,06 Aug.2015. Web. 07 Oct. 2015. http://www.texasmonthly.com/the-daily-post/the-texas-voter-id-law-explained/

Ramsey, Ross. “Voter Turnout as Big as Texas? Not Really.”The New York Times. The New York Times, 07 June 2014.Web.07 Oct. 2015.http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/08/us/voter-turnout-as-big-az-texas-not-realyy.html

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