According to a new report from the Associated Press, thousands of Texans made a mockery of the state’s voter ID laws in the November elections. Although Texas has some of the strictest voter ID requirements in the country, the AP found that many voters bypassed the law by providing sworn affidavits in lieu of their photo IDs.
How could this have happened?
Well, it happened because an appeals court decided in August that the state’s ID law unfairly punished minorities. Therefore, poll workers were instructed to let voters without an ID sign an affidavit saying they couldn’t get one due to one hardship or another. This ludicrous decision effectively made the law unenforceable.
But apparently that’s not the worst of it. Because of the 13,000 or so voters who signed the affidavit, the AP found that nearly 500 of them did so even though they possessed the required identification.
From the story:
An Associated Press analysis of roughly 13,500 affidavits submitted in Texas’ largest counties found at least 500 instances in which voters were allowed to get around the law by signing an affidavit and never showing a photo ID, despite indicating that they possessed one.
Others used the sworn declarations to lodge protest statements against the law.
One affidavit from Hidalgo County, along the Texas-Mexico border, read: “Did not want to ‘pander’ to government requirement.” In Tarrant County, an election judge noted on an affidavit: “Had photo ID but refused to show it.”
“If we see that somebody blatantly says ‘I have ID’ and refused to show it, we’re going to turn that over to the D.A.,” said Stephen Vickers, chief deputy elections administrator for Tarrant County, which includes Fort Worth. “If they tried to use the affidavit to get around the system, yeah, I see that as a violation.”
In a state where more than 9 million people voted in the last election, none of this could have had a substantial effect on the outcome. And since voters had to be on the registry rolls to use the affidavit, it’s not considered fraud. The AP said that many local prosecutors were doubtful about pursuing charges against people who unlawfully signed the affidavit, citing time and expenses.
But this illustrates the kind of lawless quagmire the courts are inviting when they make these politically-influenced decisions. No argument in the world can convince us that voter ID laws are discriminatory. If you have time to go cast a ballot, you have time to go get a photo identification card. And if you’re too dumb to figure out how to do that, then our democracy is better off without your vote.