Voter ID

Politics
12:17 pm
Mon September 3, 2012

Attorney General Rides a Losing Streak

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.
Bob Daemmrich for Texas Tribune

Greg Abbott, the state’s ambitious and litigious attorney general, is on a losing streak.

Federal courts in Washington ruled against him in two crucial voting rights cases last week, first finding that the redistricting maps drawn by the Republican Legislature didn’t protect minority voters as the law requires, and then ruling the state’s tough new photo voter ID law unfairly burdens minority voters.

Neither ruling appears to be a threat to the elections now under way. In the case of redistricting, the state’s maps were replaced this year with interim maps prepared by another set of federal judges. In the case of voter ID, there doesn’t appear to be enough time for the courts to turn around an appeal and order the new standards before November.

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Politics
11:16 am
Thu August 30, 2012

Feds Reject Texas Voter ID Law

A federal court finds SB 14 has a "retrogressive effect" on minority voting.
Jason Brackins, Texas Tribune

A United States District Court has denied Texas’ request to implement its controversial Voter ID law.

In the case of the Texas versus U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, the court writes that the law – Senate Bill 14, passed in 2011 – will have a “retrogressive effect” on the voting rights of minority citizens.

Here’s the heart of the court’s opinion:

Pursuant to section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Texas seeks a declaratory judgment that Senate Bill 14 (SB 14), a newly-enacted law requiring in-person voters to present a photo ID, “neither has the purpose nor will have the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race[,] color,” or “member[ship] [in] a language minority group.” ..  To satisfy section 5’s effect requirement, Texas must demonstrate that SB 14 will not “lead to a retrogression in the position of racial minorities with respect to their effective exercise of the electoral franchise.” …  For the reasons set forth in this opinion, we find that Texas has failed to make this showing—in fact, record evidence demonstrates that, if implemented, SB 14 will likely have a retrogressive effect. Given this, we have no need to consider whether Texas has satisfied section 5’s purpose element. Accordingly, we deny the state’s request for a declaratory judgment.

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Politics
4:42 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

How Many Dead People Are On Travis County's Voter Rolls?

Travis County workers say there may be deceased voters on file, but know of no cases of voter fraud.
Cliff Weathers, bit.ly/NncwS3

Closing arguments in the Texas voter ID trial took place in Washington D.C. today.

If implemented, the law would require voters to show a government-issued photo ID at the polls. The state argues that the new law is needed to decrease incidents of voter fraud. U.S. Attorney General has argued that Texas’ ID requirements (and others like it) are tantamount to “poll taxes.”

During the trial, state attorneys cited Travis County as one of the 18 counties that did not properly maintain voter registration records. They further claimed that over 50,000 deceased voters remain on the registry – an open door to voter fraud. 

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AM Update 7/13/12
7:38 am
Fri July 13, 2012

AM Update: Voter ID Trial Wraps Up, New APD Officers, Perry to Support Romney in Nevada

Gov. Rick Perry will travel to Nevada tonight in support of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Ben Philpott for KUT News

Voter ID Trial Continues

Closing arguments are set to begin today in the Texas Voter ID trial in Washington, D.C.

The law would require voters to present a government-issued photo ID at the polls.

A three-judge panel will decide whether the Texas law violates the Voting Rights Act by making it harder for minorities to cast a ballot. The U.S. Department of Justice argues that it does.

But lawyers for the state say the law wouldn’t disenfranchise minority voters. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott hopes the judges will agree and that the law will be in place in time for the November election.

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Politics
2:01 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

Attorney General Holder Calls Voter ID Laws 'Poll Taxes'

Holder believes the state's Voter ID bill would disenfranchise minority voters.
KUT News, U.S. Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder spoke today to members of the NAACP at a conference in Houston.

He talked about his appreciation of the organization and his concerns about the opportunities for young people in some urban areas.

Holder also talked about the Texas Voter ID bill and why he believes it would be harmful to minority voters.

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Texas
9:50 am
Mon July 9, 2012

Controversial Texas Voter ID Law Begins Federal Trial

The trial for the new Texas Voter ID law begins today.

The controversial Voter ID Law that passed last year in the Texas State Legislature is going before a federal court. The trial begins today to determine if Texas can implement the law, which requires voters to show government-issued photo identification.

The state says the law will prevent voter fraud. The Justice Department worries it will disenfranchise Hispanic voters and claims it violates the federal Voting Rights Act.  A disproportionate number of minorities in Texas lack the necessary identification, which would prevent them from voting. Texas will have to persuade a three-judge panel of the law’s legality.

The Mexican American Legislative Caucus says during the 2008 and 2010 elections there was only one case of voter fraud in over 13 million ballots cast.

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AM Update
8:24 am
Wed June 13, 2012

AM Update: Austin Ties in Zetas Arrests, Millions of Latinos Not Registered to Vote, OKC Wins Game 1

Officials have tied drugs seized in Austin to Mexican cartels; untapped Latino voters could swing Texas' next election; and the OKC Thunder beat Miami in the NBA Finals' Game 1.
Mose Buchele, KUT News; Photo by Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News; Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Fourteen Indicted for Alleged Ties to Drug Cartel

A Central Texas grand jury indicted 14 people with alleged ties to the Mexican drug cartel Los Zetas.  The cartel’s leader, Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, and two of his brothers were among those indicted.

Federal investigators say the defendants were involved in a money laundering scheme for the cartel involving the horse racing business.

Authorities arrested seven of the indicted individuals on Tuesday. One person was arrested in Austin.

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AM Update
9:01 am
Wed May 23, 2012

AM Update: APD Officer No-Billed, Abbott Backs Off Some Voter ID Trial Demands, Free Slurpees

Texas AG Greg Abbott drops opposition to Voter ID depositions; get your free Slurpee while supplies last; and an APD officer was not charged in a fatal 2011 shooting.
Abbott and police photos by KUT News; Slupree image courtesy 7-eleven.com

Austin Police Officer No-Billed in Fatal Shooting

An Austin Police officer will not face charges after fatally shooting a man last year.

A Travis County Grand Jury decided not to indict Officer Steven Peña.

Police say Peña shot Gilberto Vallejo last May after Vallejo fired a weapon at police. Police were responding to a call in Southeast Austin on a report that Vallejo was trying to shoot his way into an apartment to get to an ex-girlfriend.

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AM Update
8:20 am
Tue May 8, 2012

AM Update: Voter ID Trial Delayed, Longhorns Arrested Downtown, Paul Qui Wins James Beard Award

In 2011, Gov. Rick Perry signed SB14, Texas' Voter ID law.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/texasgovernor

Texas’ Voter ID Law in Legal Limbo

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Justice ruled that if Texas does not hand over requested documentation by Wednesday, the trial on Texas’ Voter ID Law will most likely be delayed. A delay in the trial means that Texas will not see the law implemented in time for the November election, according to the Texas Tribune.

The trial was scheduled to start July 9, until yesterday’s decision. The DOJ is specifically requesting information on voters and state databases; the state has until Wednesday to comply, says the Tribune.

KUT News previously reported that the DOJ had previously used demographic and census data to argue the  law would have a disproportionate impact on minority citizens.

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Voter ID
4:18 pm
Wed April 11, 2012

Justice Department Blasts Texas Voter ID Law

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (l) and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott have clashed over Voter ID requirements.
Holder photo courtesy Justice Department; Abbott photo courtesy Texas Attorney General

The U.S. Department of Justice says a Texas law requiring most people to show ID before they can vote will discriminate against minorities.

In court documents filed today, the department says there is substantial evidence that minorities will be affected the most:

Among other evidence, records produced by the State of Texas indicate that S.B. 14 will disenfranchise at least 600,000 voters who currently lack necessary photo identification and that minority registered voters will be disproportionately affected by the law, based on both a greater likelihood of lacking a required form of photo identification and a lesser ability to obtain a necessary identification.

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Politics
1:57 pm
Thu March 15, 2012

NAACP Takes Voter ID Laws To U.N. Rights Council

Originally published on Thu March 15, 2012 1:40 pm

Like they've done in the past, the NAACP has argued before a United Nations panel that laws passed in some states that require voters to show identification suppress the votes of minorities.

Fox News reports the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People made its case in Geneva yesterday:

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Texas
2:37 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

Reactions to Justice Department Photo Voter ID Decision

The Department of Justice building in Washington DC.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/mvjantzen

Earlier today, KUT News reported the Department of Justice has refused to preclear Texas' voter ID law, arguing it would disproportionately impact Latino and Hispanic voters. Here's a roundup of lawmakers' reaction to the decision. 

Gov. Rick Perry

 "Texas has a responsibility to ensure elections are fair, beyond reproach and accurately reflect the will of voters. The DOJ has no valid reason for rejecting this important law, which requires nothing more extensive than the type of photo identification necessary to receive a library card or board an airplane. Their denial is yet another example of the Obama Administration's continuing and pervasive federal overreach."

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Texas
10:53 am
Mon March 12, 2012

DOJ Refuses to Clear Texas Voter ID Law

Gov. Rick Perry's ceremonial signing of SB 14, the state's Voter ID law.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/texasgovernor

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has refused to clear Texas’ voter ID requirements, passed by the Texas Legislature in 2011.

The state and the DOJ have been at odds over the issue for months, with the feds requesting additional information to ascertain whether the law would have a disproportionate impact on minority citizens.

Texas is one of the Southern states covered under the Voting Rights Act; Section 5 of the act requires the DOJ to “pre-clear” any electoral changes states make that might impact minority voters.

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SXSW
9:01 am
Thu March 8, 2012

AM Update: SXSW Starts Tomorrow, Voter ID Considered in DC, and Roky Erickson: Music Ambassador

SXSW festival attendees at a book signing
Photo courtesy flickr.com/drbeachvacation

SXSW Film and Interactive Start Tomorrow

Austin’s South by Southwest Film and Interactive Festivals kicks off tomorrow and downtown is preparing.

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Politics
3:18 pm
Mon January 23, 2012

Stymied, Texas Seeks to Implement Voter ID Law

The Texas Attorney General wants to enforce a Voter ID law passed last year; the Department of Justice has yet to "preclear" the measure.
Photo by KUT News

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has filed a complaint against the U.S. Department of Justice, seeking to enforce a controversial voter ID requirement passed by the Texas Legislature.

Passed in 2011, the law requires most voters to show a photo ID verifying their identity before they can cast a ballot. Proponents of the measure claim it’s required to clamp down on voter fraud. But critics counter instances of voter fraud are relatively rare, and moreover, the parties most likely affected – minorities, the young, and poorer citizens – often support Democratic candidates over Republican ones.

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