Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Proposition 1 on the March 2, 2010 Ballot

The Texas Republican party has placed five propositions on their March 2, 2010, primary ballot.  These propositions are non-binding.  The propositions are not amendments to the Texas Constitution.

The first proposition is as follows:
Ballot Proposition #1: Photo ID
The Texas legislature should make it a priority to protect the integrity of our election process by enacting legislation that requires voters to provide valid photo identification in order to cast a ballot in any and all elections conducted in the State of Texas.

I wrote about this previously in this blog when the legislature considered making people get a photo ID to vote.  See Could Jesus Vote in Texas?   

A Brown University study cataloged the negative effects of the introduction of photo ID's. The following is the last paragraph in their study.
"In 2004, despite higher white registration levels in voter ID states, the net effect was a substantial reduction in voter turnout. The reduction cut across racial and ethnic lines, but disproportionately affected blacks and Hispanics. It also disproportionately diminished electoral participation by citizens with lower income and education, tenants, and people who move more frequently. These groups already stand out for lower participation, and voter ID has the consequence of further reducing their engagement with the electoral system. In our view the selectivity of these suppressive impacts is their most objectionable feature. But even aside from placing a greater burden on some groups than on others, this is a policy that has not been shown to have any benefits. If reversing this policy in the 20 states that implemented it in 2004 could have increased overall turnout by registered voters by 1.6 million — from a rate of 67.7% to 70.3% — that is a strong argument in itself."
 The Texas Attorney has spent $1.4 million in 2 years to find 26 cases of voter fraud. He uncovered no grand fraud schemes.  Most of these cases involved technical infractions where someone carried a properly marked mail-in ballot to the mailbox for elderly people.  What a dastardly crime!   I suppose Attorney General Abbott will prosecute me if I take my 85 year old aunt's sealed ballot to the mailbox in her apartment complex.  That is what we are talking about.  In addition, Abbott only prosecutes Democrats by the way.  He ignores Republican misteps.

If you vote for Proposition 1, you are voting for suppression.  This proposition is designed to elicit a yes vote that will be used to further the Republican position on voter suppression.  Republicans know that those most affected are the elderly, the disabled, and minorities; people most likely to vote Democratic.  Anything that can be done to reduce their numbers aids Republican candidates.

Let's recall Texas sad history of voter suppression.  It was called the poll tax and was designed to suppress the black vote.  Obviously, the desire to suppress the vote of non-whites still exists.  The tea-baggers have openly called for literacy tests.  Tests used in the South to keep blacks from voting.  I expect Republicans to embrace that position.

I go into detail how needing a photo ID discourages the least among us from voting in my article Could Jesus Vote in Texas?

I will paraphrase Jesus. "I tell you the truth. You kept the least of these from voting, so you kept me from voting.."


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