Update 8/11/16 –
During our training Saturday in Austin, we received a report on the TX Voter ID ruling that was full of inaccuracies and felt like this well researched explanation would help with a lot of confusion and questions. A mountain of gratitude is owed to Sue Evenwel for putting this together for us!
As always, feel free to contact me if you should have any questions.
“August 10, 2016
Dear friends and colleagues,
While many of you were in Cleveland nominating the 2016 Republican Presidential candidate, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals was announcing its decision in Veasey vs. Abbott, the Texas Voter ID case. Earlier this year I was disappointed with another ruling handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court, in regard to the Voting Rights Act in my own case Evenwel vs. Abbott, which came to be known as ‘One person, one vote”. So, when this Texas Voter ID decision was announced, I was more than a little interested in the outcome. Several county chairmen in SD#1, and election workers in Titus County asked me to explain how this recent 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling will affect the November election. After some comments and discussion at the training event in Austin this past weekend, I felt I needed to respond with the information I have been able research and discover.
Did you ever play “whisper down the lane” as a kid? It is so amusing to hear the end result of just passing a simple sentence through a dozen people. It doesn’t even resemble what was said at the start. Regarding this case, there has been a lot of misinformation, unfair innuendos, and much confusion regarding the actions taken by our Attorney General (along with our Governor and Secretary of State) to protect the integrity of our election process.
The most troubling statement I heard was, “Basically, anyone will be able to present any form of ID, light bill or invoice, with or without a picture, sign an affidavit stating you are who you say you are, and be allowed to vote. That is not true!
This November, in addition to a Texas driver’s license, 6 other acceptable forms of photo ID’s may be presented.
- Texas Voters Identification Certificate, issued free of charge by the DPS.
- Teas personal identification card issued by DPS
- Texas license to carry a handgun issued by DPS
- U.S. military identification card with person’s photo
- U.S. citizenship certificate with person’s photo
- United States passport
With the exception of the U.S. citizenship certificate, these documents must all be current or have expired no more than four years before being presented at the polling place.
The name on these ID’s must match what appears on the list of registered voters, or be “substantially similar”, i.e. Bill instead of William. If there is a slight variance, as in the latter example, the voter must sign an affidavit stating that they are the same person as on the registered voter list.
Now, people have been known to show up to vote with none of these acceptable forms of ID. If that happens, they will be able to vote provisionally. No one will be refused a ballot. However, that voter must produce the proper ID to the voter registrar not later than the 6th day after the election for their vote to be counted.
This solution, which General Paxton reached along with Governor Abbott and Secretary Cascos in agreement, is certainly not as strong as SB 14 was written, but it is a fair compromise, because the full 5th Circuit invalidated our law. That means, without this interim solution there would be NO PHOTO ID at all in November!
The link below is an article by Hans von Spakovsky, a man I got to know in Washington, D.C. during the time my case was being prepared. He is a senior legal fellow with The Heritage Foundation, and a highly respected authority on election law. It was just published today! Great minds think alike. LOL
I also want to take this opportunity in thanking General Paxton for his leadership on this issue. As Republicans we take ballot security and the integrity of elections seriously. I am proud our Texas AG has remained steadfast in his fight to promote and protect the values we share as Republicans. This case is no different. He has provided us with the facts regarding the recent decision of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals relating to our state’s Voter ID bill and came up with a clear solution.
As a sidebar, General Paxton was an early supporter for strict voter id requirements. In 2011, when he was in the Texas House, he co-sponsored Senate Bill 14, which requires a person to show a photo id when voting. Analysts have noted that the provisions outlined in Senate Bill 14 made this legislation the strictest voter id law in the nation. After the bill’s passage, Paxton tweeted that a “Photo ID is required to board a plane, drive a car, and cash a check…why not to vote?”
Unfortunately, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, recognized as the most conservative appellate court in the country, answered that rhetorical question with a disappointing ruling 9-6 that Senate Bill 14 violates the Voting Rights Act. Four Republican-appointed judges joined the five Democrat-appointed judges to strike down our voter ID law. Judge Catharina Haynes, who was nominated by President George W. Bush during his second term as President, wrote the opinion stating, “We conclude that the district court did not clearly err in determining that SB 14 has a discriminatory effect on minorities’ voting rights in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.”
This Court declared Texas’ voter ID law dead unless General Paxton along with Governor Abbott and Secretary of State Cascos reach an agreement with the plaintiff and Department of Justice (DOJ) containing terms that all parties find reasonable for the election this November. Additionally, the legislature must pass a bill next session addressing the Court’s concerns regarding the “discriminatory effect” of SB 14 in order to save our state’s voter id bill going forward.
No voter ID laws have been held permissible in federal court unless the law contains a procedure for affidavit. Therefore, General Paxton with Governor Abbott and Secretary Cascos searched for the most reasonable affidavit procedure. The one procedure they agreed to is described above. The agreement reached with the plaintiff and Department of Justice states that an individual must provide a proper government-issued photo ID when voting unless the individual cannot obtain a proper form of identification. In this case, the individual must complete and sign an affidavit to which the penalty of perjury (a felony offense) applies stating that he/she cannot obtain an acceptable form of identification for the purposes of voting AND that individual must provide some other document of proof complete with a name and address.
Unfortunately, this is not the end of the issue. Perhaps the most concerning part of this case is, the Appellate Court has remanded the case back to the District Court to determine if the Legislature exercised discriminatory purpose when passing SB 14. If discriminatory effect is found, then our state could be bailed-in again, which means our election laws and re-districting efforts would be subject to PRECLEARANCE by the Department of Justice, which would prove detrimental to our state under an Obama Administration or, heaven forbid, another Clinton Administration. We cannot let that happen! But that is the subject of another memo.
I sincerely hope this helps clarify the Voter ID requirement for November.
Titus county Republican Party, chairman
SREC Committeewomen, SD#1
Plaintiff in Evenwel vs. Abbott”