Saturday, June 10, 2017

24.6 - Update on voter ID laws

Update on voter ID laws

Last week, described how on May 15 the Supreme Court had finally slammed the door on North Carolina's attempt to restrict votes of minorities through voter ID laws.

Well guess what: On June 4, North Carolina got smacked down again, as the Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision that 28 of the state's legislative districts were illegal racial gerrymanders intended to dilute the impact of black voters

One example was District 21, where the GOPper-dominated legislature, which drew the lines, took a district that had a plurality of black voters and changed it into one with a majority of black voters. The state feebly claimed it had to do that under the Voting Rights Act so that black voters could elect their candidates of choice. The problem is that in those plurality-black districts, minority voters were already electing candidates of their choice - usually, black Democrats - and so the effect of the change was not to enfranchise minority voters in the one district but to make the surrounding districts whiter, weakening and diluting the power of minority voters in those.

Happily, both the Circuit and the Supreme Court saw through the state's BS and new districts will have to be drawn.

This comes on top of a decision by the Supreme Court in May that two of the state's congressional districts were also illegal racial gerrymanders. Apparently, the North Carolina GOPpers know the only way they can keep winning is by cheating.

On a less happy note, Texas has enacted into law a more relaxed version of state voter-identification requirements than those in a previous measure struck down by US courts as racially discriminatory.

Voters still have to produce some form of ID at the polls but the types have been expanded to include something such as a bank statement or utility bill with their name and address. That is, if those voters also sign an affidavit attesting to having a "reasonable impediment" to obtaining a valid photo ID - assuming they will do so after, we can be sure, told lying on such an affidavit carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and having to wonder if whatever impediment they have is sufficiently "reasonable" to satisfy a law enforced by people who would rather they hadn't voted in the first place.

By the way, the list of valid photo IDs accepted under both the previous law and the revised one includes a driver's license, a US military identification, a US passport, and a concealed handgun permit - but not, interestingly and perhaps revealingly, a student ID card.

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