Trump’s Justice Department Just Greenlit America’s Worst Voter Suppression Law

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Although three federal judges have struck down a Texas voter identification law clearly intended to be discriminate against minorities and suppress voting by Latinos, people of color and the elderly, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions today said the federal government is dropping all objections to the controversial law.

In a legal brief filed with the U.S. District Court in Corpus Christi, Texas – which is considering the Texas legislators’ fourth revamp of the 2011 law – the Justice Department writes that the newest version remedies all “discriminatory effects” and should be allowed to take effect without any further penalties or delay.

The Texas law which limits the number of official, usable forms of ID before someone votes was strongly opposed by the Obama administration – but it is no surprise the Trump administration is in favor of it.

Trump has repeatedly made claims that millions of illegals voted in the 2016 presidential election, which is the only reason he lost the popular vote. His claims have been shown to be false again and again.

The truth is that voter suppression helped get Trump elected. In Wisconsin, for instance, more than 200,000 people’s right to vote was surpassed, and Trump won the state by only a little over 22,000 votes.

So it is not a surprise that Trump has doubled down on his voter suppression efforts by creating the “Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity,” led by vicious Kansas extremist Kris Kobach, to go looking for those millions of illegal, improper votes even thought every state in the union has told him there was no significant improper voting by illegals or anyone else.

To head his commission, Trump chose Kris Kobach, the Kansas Secretary of State who has been called “the kind of voter suppression” by the ACLU because he has been behind so many anti-voter laws that have been struck down repeatedly by the courts.

When Trump created his commission in May, Dale Ho, Director of the ACLU Voting Rights Project, called it “a circus, designed to undermine confidence in our system and to reach a pre-determined result and to justify laws that make it harder for people to register and vote.”

Even before the commission met, Kobach sent out letters to all 50 states and the District of Columbia asking for an unprecedented amount of data on voters including their party affiliations, voting history and even the last four numbers of their social security numbers.

Some but not all of that data is publically available in most states but that didn’t stop both Republicans and Democrats across the nation from balking at meeting Kobach’s demands.

At last count 44 states and the District of Columbia are refusing to respond as requested, largely because some of the information is confidential and the commission is expected to make it public.

“The President’s Commission has quickly politicized its work by asking states for an incredible amount of voter data that I have, time and again, refused to release,” Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler, who is a Republican, said in a statement. “My response to the Commission is, you’re not going to play politics with Louisiana’s voter data.”

Another Republican, Delbert Hosemann, Secretary of State in Mississippi, said, “My reply would be: They can go jump into the Gulf of Mexico, and Mississippi is a great State to launch from.”

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, blasted the request and said the commission is based on falsehoods: “I have serious reservations about the true intentions of this effort in light of the false statements this administration has made regarding voter integrity, the historical suppression of voting rights, and the way that such data been used in the past.”

In the Texas case, Trump’s Justice Department not only wants the federal court to rubber-stamp the latest version of the questionable law, but also cancel a fix the state agreed to before last year’s presidential election on an interim basis which was meant to correct the most discriminatory effects.

The Texas law is considered on of the strictest in the country. It discriminates in part by insisting on forms of ID that favor certain groups. For instance, a state gun license is an acceptable form of ID but a legally issued university student ID is not.

That is why U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos has repeatedly ruled against the Texas law. In her last opinion, she said that the plaintiffs who brought the challenge had proven that “a discriminatory intent was at least one of the substantial or motivating factors” behind the passage of the legislation.

The plaintiffs in the case who do not believe the latest fix in the Texas legislature, done in a rush without any committee or public hearings, is any better than the previous attempts, want the judge to provide even tougher remedies or simply strike down the law completely.

“At its core,” write the plaintiffs in their plea to the federal court, the new version of the Texas law “maintains the same unexplained picking and choosing of ‘acceptable’ photo IDs for in-person voting – accepting ID’s disproportionately held by Anglo voters and rejecting ID’s disproportionately held by minority voters” that led the court to its previous finding that there is discriminatory intent.

They want Texas to become the first state put under federal supervision since a 2013 Supreme Court ruling took Texas and other states that discriminate off a list of states with a history of discrimination.

Once again Trump and Sessions want to do everything possible to discourage voting by minorities who typically vote for Democrats and against big money, business first Republican candidates.

Trump has already filed to run for reelection in 2020 and he has Sessions out there laying the groundwork for him to steal more states’ electoral votes and another election.

It is unclear if the federal judge in Texas will roll over and do Trump’s bidding or if she will continue to stand up for the rights of all Americans to vote as she has for the past six years.

Trump, we can be guaranteed, will continue telling his lies about illegal voting in the 2016 election, and seeking to make it hard for anyone who is not rich, white and Republican to vote.

That is what authoritarians and dictators have always done – fix the election process in advance to guarantee they will remain in power – even if a majority of the people want them permanently retired.

Trump doesn’t care about voting or democracy. He cares about winning and winning again at any cost, and Sessions is happy to help him to do that – which is sickening to all fair-minded Americans.

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