Congressman Veasey On His Fight Against Texas' Controversial Voter ID Law
This week, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the Texas photo ID law violates the Voting Rights Act, meaning it's racially discriminatory. The law is considered to have the most restrictive photo ID requirement in the country.
Congressman Marc Veasey, a Democrat from Fort Worth, was lead plaintiff in the case. He joined KERA's Bill Zeeble for a look at the decision.
Interview Highlights: U.S. Rep. Veasey on ...
... why he opposes the voter ID law: "I thought it was important as the lead plaintiff to stand up against this Texas voter ID law. As you know, when this law was passed, I was still in the state legislature. I had a problem with the fact that we passed a bill, that the Republicans passed the bill, in the state legislature that said that you could vote with a concealed handgun license, but not with a Texas state university ID. That just didn't make any sense. It was clear that the bill was discriminatory, and that they were hoping to deny citizens, particularly blacks and Latinos, the right to vote. And that's why I filed for the suit, and we'll continue to fight all the way."
... what's discriminatory about the voter ID law: "There are several things. There's not one thing that's the most blatant but there are several that I can just think of off the top of my head. For instance, if your license is 61 days expired, well then they're going to say, 'no, you can't vote.' Even though it's you, even though the person that walks in with the license is you, 61 days, 'no, you can't vote.' You have to file a ballot that won't count, and then if you don't bring your new ID back up there within a certain amount of time, then your vote doesn't count. It's little schemes like that."
... on interpreting the 5th Circuit Court's decision (Some people who oppose the voter ID law say this is a victory but then Ken Paxton, the Texas attorney general, also is calling it a victory): "I'm going to be talking with my lawyers about that. It's not clear because it will depend on what the district court will find as far discriminatory intent is concerned. Once it goes back to the district court, I think that we'll have a better picture. I'm hopeful that this will knock out this blatant and purposeful discrimination that the Texas Legislature put on the state just so that they could win elections."
... on whether there might be a long battle over the voter ID law: "We really do have to wait to see what the district court says. It's just hard to predict exactly what courts are going to say. I'm sure that Republicans, when they heard this was going to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, they probably thought that they had slam-dunked this thing. But they said they violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. You just never know. We have to wait to see what the district court says. I'm going to remain hopeful and we'll see what happens."