Texas’s voter identification law is in place to guard against voter fraud.
Is it working? Does it seek out the most common culprit? Frontline, the acclaimed PBS news documentary series, suggests it doesn’t.
The most common abusers are absentee voters, according to Frontline. The Texas law, which has been upheld by the courts, targets those who show up at the polls without proper identification or who have false ID and seek to pass themselves off as someone else.
Yes, those incidences do occur — rarely.
The more common element of fraud occurs away from the polling place.
Frontline notes that most absentee votes are white and older than the rest of the voting population. Accordingly, voter ID laws draw their aim on those who are least able to afford to pay for the kinds of identification that many states now require. As Frontline reports:
“Laws that require photo ID at the polls vary, but the strictest laws limit the forms of acceptable documentation to only a handful of cards. For example, in Texas, voters must show one of seven forms of state or federal-issue photo ID, with a valid expiration date: a driver’s license, a personal ID card issued by the state, a concealed handgun license, a military ID, citizenship certificate or a passport. The name on the ID must exactly match the one on the voter rolls.
“African-Americans and Latinos are more likely to lack one of these qualifying IDs, according to several estimates. Even when the state offers a free photo ID, these voters, who are disproportionately low-income, may not be able to procure the underlying documents, such as a birth certificate, to obtain one.”
Therein lies the problem that some see in these voter ID laws. They make it harder for some Americans to vote and those Americans happen to be among the more disadvantaged among us.
Didn’t we pass a constitutional amendment to prohibit such a thing?