The Young Voters Education Fund has joined in an objection to Texas’ Voter ID law, which the Justice Department is reviewing to make sure it does not harm minority voters.
“Texas’s proposed photo ID measure, which does not permit the use of a government-issued student identification card as an acceptable form of identification at the polls, would disfranchise students who only possess student identification,” said Christina Sanders, State Director for the Texas League of Young Voters Education Fund.
Critics said this applies especially for many African-American students at Prairie View A&M University, a historically black university located in Waller County, who have been the target of multiple efforts to deny their votes over the years. The League of Young Voters Education Fund collected statements from dozens of students at Prairie View confirming that the proposed photo ID law will disfranchise them.
Republican legislators who passed the state’s Voter ID law earlier this year have confidently predicted the measure will pass legal scrutiny.
Critics also say the new burdens have been imposed against the backdrop of an unfortunate history of discouraging student voting at Prairie View A&M. For more than three decades, Waller County has repeatedly sought to prevent students at Prairie View A&M from participating in the electoral process.
Litigation from the late 1970s—including a decision from the Supreme Court —barred Waller County’s efforts to block Prairie View A&M students from voting in local elections.
“Students have a right to vote where they attend school,” Sanders said. “We are urging the Department of Justice to stand in the gap to protect their voting rights. We cannot afford to ignore this real threat to their voting rights—a threat to their access to the ballot is a threat to everyone’s access to the ballot.”
Although Texas’s purported rationale for the photo ID Law is to prevent fraud, there is absolutely no record of voter fraud with respect to in-person voting in Texas.
“It’s a lie. It’s not true. It does not exist,” said Royal Masset, former Political Director of the Republican Party of Texas.
The Department of Justice has until Sept. 23, 2011 to object to the law if it decides that it is discriminatory and disenfranchises voters.