FILE – In this Feb. 26, 2014 file photo, an election official checks a voter’s photo identification at an early voting polling site in Austin, Texas. Overshadowed in a big election year for Texas is a big trial coming over how ballots are now cast: under a tough new voter ID law. A trial begins Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014, in Corpus Christi over one of the most stringent voter ID measures in the nation. U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos will decide whether the Texas law is a legal safeguard or a discriminatory mandate that suppresses minority turnout. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was right when she predicted earlier this month that a strict Texas voter ID law would prevent Americans from voting, the Huffington Post reports.
Ginsburg called the new measure an “unconstitutional poll tax” in a scathing six-page dissent of the law that was upheld earlier this month by the U.S. Supreme Court. Now the Huffington Post has been able to gather numerous instances of people blocked at the polls during early voting in Texas ahead of Election Day next week.
The early voting period is still going on in Texas, but voters and election officials told The Huffington Post there have already been problems casting ballots due to the new restrictive measure….
In Austin, 45-year-old Eric Kennie, who hasn’t set foot outside the state his whole life, couldn’t get his card because the birth certificate he struggled to afford lists his mother’s maiden name.
In Houston, an election judge claims that a 93-year-old veteran was turned away from the polls because his driver’s license had been expired for too long. Another 62-year-old woman told MSNBC that she was threatened with jail time when she went to obtain her voter ID because she was driving with a California license.
Texas is no stranger to such accusations.
In the mid-1800s, African Americans in Texas were regularly denied the right to vote, through intimidation and violence, including lynching, Mother Jones writes. But the recent ruling marked the first time in 32 years that the Supreme Court allowed a law restricting voting rights to be enacted, although a federal court ruled that it was unconstitutional for targeting minorities, the report says.
Dana DeBeauvoir, the clerk responsible for overseeing election conduct in Travis County, which has over 1 million people and includes the city of Austin, said she spoke this week to a 61-year-old disabled woman, Madeleine, who was “in tears” because she was turned away when she went to vote at a grocery store.
The low-income woman is on a payment plan with a court to pay off her parking tickets, DeBeauvoir said, and while she’s on the plan, her license is suspended. Now, Madeleine has to quickly get to a driver’s license office to get a voting card. Her disability qualifies her to vote by mail, but she missed that deadline because she didn’t know her license would be denied.
Justice Ginsburg was spot on when she wrote:
“Any voter confusion or lack of public confidence in Texas’ electoral processes is in this case largely attributable to the state itself.”
If things are this bad during early voting, we can only imagine just how bad they will be next week on Election Day.