Gonzalez on Texas Voter ID Law Hearing
Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Charlie Gonzalez (TX-20), Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Elections of the Committee on House Administration, condemned the Texas voter ID law being heard before the United States District Court of the District of Columbia this week. In March of this year, the Department of Justice (DOJ) blocked the voter ID law passed by the Texas State Legislature and Texas Governor Rick Perry from taking effect because the state couldn’t show that the law wouldn’t discriminate against eligible, minority voters. Because Texas could not convince DOJ that their voter ID law was not discriminatory, they are now taking the same arguments to the courts. Chairman Charlie Gonzalez, a long-time critic of the Texas law and other voter suppression laws, issued the following statement regarding the Texas voter ID law:
“This week, the State of Texas will use the same misleading, mistaken, and disproven arguments to a federal court that its voter ID law does not discriminate. No matter how many times Texas or other states claim that these laws aren’t designed to suppress voting, there are no cases of voter fraud that would be stopped by voter ID laws. The fact is, voter ID laws don’t stop fraud, they suppress voting and disenfranchise voters. They impose new hurdles on voters, particularly young, poor, minority voters, and voters living in rural areas. They increase the time, effort and even money they must pay to participate in what the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution calls ‘the right to vote.’
“In Texas alone, nearly 11% of the population does not have a form of identification that would be acceptable to vote under this law. For those citizens to secure an ID, many would need to pay $22 for a birth certificate, which amounts to an unconstitutional poll tax. When 81 of Texas’s 254 counties lack an ID facility, Texas didn’t even attempt to accommodate voters who might have to travel 187 miles to the nearest ID facility.
“President Bush spent five years and millions of dollars and couldn’t find evidence of voter fraud to justify laws like this. Texas Attorney General Abbott still cannot find evidence of fraud that would have been stopped by a voter ID. That’s because voter ID laws attempt to solve a problem that does not exist. But they create a very real problem, threatening the voting rights of millions of Americans.”