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In his latest piece in the LA Times, Andrew Cohen titled it “Shame on Texas and the U.S. Supreme Court”.  The article was about the new voter ID law in Texas which requires voters to show ID when they present their voter registration card to vote in person.  Please allow me to quote Mr. Cohen and then show you where he obviously did not do his homework before attempting to blast the great State of Texas:

He wrote “By requiring registered voters to present a certain kind of photo identification card, and by making it difficult for those without such cards to obtain one, the law’s Republican architects would ensure that poor voters, or ill ones, or the elderly or blacks or Latinos — all likely Democratic voters — would be disenfranchised, all in the name of preventing a type of voter fraud that does not materially exist.”  Well Mr. Cohen, let’s get correct on this.  First, it’s not a “certain kind of photo identification card”, there are actually 7 different forms of identification which are allowed and here they are:

  • Texas driver license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
  • Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS
  • Texas personal identification card issued by DPS
  • Texas concealed handgun license issued by DPS
  • United States military identification card containing the person’s photograph
  • United States citizenship certificate containing the person’s photograph
  • United States passport

But I understand that Mr. Cohen is focused on the second ID in the list, the Election Identification Certificate.  He, and many critics of the new law, say this amounts to a poll tax, as the person is required to pay.  But wait, Mr. Cohen, are you aware the EIC is free?  It seems you have conveniently forgotten that.

So let’s move on to the next part of your scathing dissent of Texas from your superior position of California.  “making it difficult for those without such cards to obtain one” – hmm, let’s take a good look at just how difficult it is to obtain. The DPS offices around Texas are generally open during any business day AND, during the election “season”, they are going to be open on Saturdays as well.  Now you might say in all your knowledge that some people simply can’t make it during those hours.  But once again you conveniently forget they are seemingly able to make it to the ballot box just fine, AND that they have had an entire year to plan a quick trip to the DPS office.

But wait, there’s more!  There will be mobile stations set up all over the State at courthouses, civic centers, multi-purpose rooms in community centers, schools, churches, sheriffs offices, etc.  So how exactly do you figure, Mr. Cohen, it is difficult to obtain one?  Short of knocking on every door and handing a form to every couch potato in the State, I don’t think Texas could have done this any better.

Let me also make one thing clear that you have lied about Mr. Cohen; you say this new ID law would “ensure that poor voters, or ill ones, or the elderly or blacks or Latinos — all likely Democratic voters — would be disenfranchised”. As a “legal analyst” you should know better Mr. Cohen, the ill, the elderly and the disabled are able to vote by mail and that does not require the ID.  Shame on you Mr. Cohen, you said that simply to garner outrage from the people over our precious elderly and disabled citizens.

And then of course there is your little racist line tossed in to make it look like a Republican ploy “blacks or Latinos — all likely Democratic voters — would be disenfranchised”.  So you are saying that if a person is black or Latino they are going to be a Democrat? Have you even been to Texas?  Shame again on you Mr. Cohen, shame on you.

So, let’s recap.  There is no poll tax, as the ID is free.  There is no disenfranchisement, as the ID centers are available and open even on Saturdays, there’s mobile stations set up all over the State. Seems to me that you’ve run out of arguments for why providing ID and proving you are indeed the person on your voter registration card is a bad idea.

Andrew Cohen’s original article found here: http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-1023-cohen-texas-voting-rights-20141023-story.html

Link to Texas’ voter registration ID information: http://votetexas.gov/register-to-vote/need-id/

Texas DPS Election Identification Information: http://www.dps.texas.gov/DriverLicense/electionID.htm