DOJ Complaint Against Texas Voter ID Law – Debates Contained “Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric”

August 22nd, 2013

Here are the key paragraphs concerning “discriminatory intent” motivating the Voter ID Law, citing “Anti-immigrant rhetoric.”

27. Legislative debate and public statements concerning these voter ID bills contained anti-immigrant rhetoric. In addition, while the public record contains statements suggesting that voter ID legislation was needed to prevent noncitizens from voting, noncitizens may lawfully possess several of the forms of identification required for in-person voting under SB 14.

Interesting that the complaint does not reference “racial” rhetoric, but “anti-immigration” rhetoric. I am going to guess that the debates referenced focused on preventing non-citizens from voting. Is this what DOJ views as “anti-immigrant rhetoric.”

The complaint also rejects that fraud-prevention motivated the law, as no evidence was placed into the record to support this claim.

29.While the stated purpose of SB 14 was to ensure the integrity of elections, voter ID proponents cited virtually no evidence during or after enactment of SB 14 that in-person voter impersonation—the only form of election fraud addressed by the identification requirements of SB 14—was a serious problem or that the State’s then-existing identification procedures had failed to prevent in-person voter impersonation.

The complaint included a disparate-impact style analysis.

30. The State knew or should have known that Hispanic and African-American Texans disproportionately lack the forms of photo ID required by SB 14, as compared to their Anglo counterparts.

31. Nevertheless,supporters of voter ID in the Texas legislature made little to no effort to analyze the potential effect of photo ID requirements on minority voters and rejected amendments requiring investigation of the effect of SB 14.

32. The State knew or should have known that the process of obtaining an EIC will impose a substantial burden on thousands of voters, especially Hispanic and African-American Texans who are disproportionately poor and disproportionately lack access to transportation.

Here’s the violation of Section 2:

69. Viewed in the totality of circumstances, Texas’s implementation and enforcement of SB 14 will interact with social and historical conditions in Texas to deny equal opportunities for Hispanic and African-American voters to participate in the political process, resulting in a denial of the right to vote in violation of Section 2.