Early voting started yesterday here in Texas, and this year is going to be a bit different. This past weekend the Supreme Court gave the state the go-ahead to enact the strict voter ID law. I wish I could say that I was straddling the fence on this issue, but it feels too much like we’re repeating the past with this law. I know that no one likes to talk about racism and the term “voter fraud” is thrown around a lot, but this reminds me a lot of Jim Crow. Once again its minorities who are the main ones affected; the demographic has just changed to illegal Hispanic immigrants and lower-class Blacks instead of lower-class whites and newly freed slaves. Instead of having to pass literacy tests, pay outrageous poll taxes or verify that your grandfather was a free man (if the first two didn’t stop the newly freed slaves from voting that last one did), voters will now be required to show one of the following forms of government issued identification:
A driver’s license or personal ID card
A birth certificate
U.S. citizenship papers
A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check or paycheck with the voter’s name and voting address
Now don’t get me wrong I’m all for making sure that everything is done in a calm and in order, we don’t want another Florida recall situation, but I’m concerned about the 600,000 people estimated to be living in Texas without a government issued ID. Supreme Court Justice Ginsberg, who voted against the law even called it “the greatest threat to public confidence in elections”. The (temporary, I hope) passing of this law alone makes me want to get out and vote. I was always told that you shouldn’t say anything negative about the current administration (whether it be municipal, state or federal) if you were able to vote and didn’t. Well I’m going to make my voice heard this year, and I hope you guys do too. I don’t care if you identify as a Democrat or Republican get out there and make sure your voice is heard.