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Action Alert! Thank AG Jeff Sessions for Dropping Objection to Texas Voter ID Law
   Friday, March 3, 2017   at   8:11 AM

The Department of Justice this week walked away from a challenge to a voter ID law being litigated in Texas. And what it is no longer claiming is telling, because it’s something the federal government shouldn’t have pursued in the first place.

Despite progressive rhetoric to the contrary, it’s entirely appropriate to require voters to prove they are who they say they are and live where they say they live. This issue has already been settled in a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court case, and it’s been resurrected by election–reform opponents mainly as a means of stirring partisan rancor, in our view.

Click here to send an affirming email to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Specifically, the Justice Department is no longer in agreement with a claim made in a federal lawsuit that authors of a state law acted with discriminatory intent when it wrote a voter ID law in 2011. The law required voters to show some form of government–issued photo identification before voting. Driver licenses and passports were among the types of identification specified in the legislation.

Other parties to the lawsuit are continuing to press the claim that Texas acted with discriminatory intent with the 2011 law. That’s important because if courts agree with that contention, the state could require judicial approval for future changes to election laws.

Election–reform opponents have reflexively objected to such voter–ID laws, in some cases claiming they have been drawn with racist intent. They aren’t. Rather, they address the very real concerns many voters have with the integrity of the elections process.

We believe voter fraud is a not a widespread issue, but that small numbers of illegally cast votes can have a significant impact on local and statewide elections. Voters need the assurance that their ballots count as much as everyone else’s, and voter–ID laws help to assure that.

Texas is currently considering a revision to the law in question, according to Manny Fernandez and Eric Lichtblau in a recent story in The New York Times. We hope they’ll arrive at something akin to the current law in effect in our home state of Ohio. In the Buckeye State, voters may verify their identity and residence with a photo ID or with other documents, including a pay stub, utility bill or other document. If the goal of voter ID is to verify the voter’s identity and residence – and it should be – it’s in both the state’s and voters’ interests to make the means of that verification as easy to acquire as possible.

We believe the previous administration’s actions against voter ID laws worked against the sound public policy that elections should be conducted with safeguards that assure their integrity. The current Justice Department was correct in standing with election–reform advocates on this issue.

Click here to send an email to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, thanking him for this smart decision.

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