Texas Governor candidate for the Democratic Party, Wendy Davis, is starting to worry state Republicans. As it turns out, women are not fans of having their bodies regulated and are supporting Davis in a way no Democrat in the state has done before. Now, Republicans are fighting back, but not on the issues. Instead, they are using underhanded methods to keep women away from the voting booth this November.
Voter ID laws are a relatively new phenomenon in Republican circles to deter Democratic voters from going to the polls. While it may seem like a logical plan to deter voter fraud, it is not that simple. You may take for granted the fact you have a drivers license or other form of photo ID. However, many in some communities, i.e. black, Latino, low income, and the elderly simply do not have an ID. They may not have a car, and therefore do not find it necessary to spend money to purchase one.
Voter ID laws may work if there was a place in every single community to get one, and they were handed out for free. However, this does not guarantee everybody will receive one. As it stands now, to receive a Photo ID, you must go to a DMV location. It is possible that you have a DMV very close to you. However, in some parts of the country, an entire state may only have a few offices. One of those states is Texas. Texas has only 81 DMV’s for its 254 counties. Counties with high numbers of Latinos are less likely to have a DMV office, and are twice as likely as whites not to have the right ID.
Photo ID’s are not a constitutional right, but voting is. That is why the Department of Justice stepped in the last time Texas attempted to disenfranchise voters during the 2012 Presidential election.
“Out of the 197 million votes cast for federal candidates between 2002 and 2005, only 40 voters were indicted for voter fraud, according to a Department of Justice study outlined during a 2006 Congressional hearing. Only 26 of those cases, or about .00000013 percent of the votes cast, resulted in convictions or guilty pleas.
What’s more, the type of voter fraud Republicans claim to want to stop, is very inefficient. A single person would have to go to so many different precincts and vote so many times, that to do so in a way that has any real consequence, is simply impossible.
Now, Texas is at it again and this time they are targeting women voters.
State Senator Wendy Davis gained national fame after her 11 hour filibuster of an abortion bill that would have closed nearly all family planning clinics. Clinics that provide more than just abortion, ranging from STI testing to cancer screenings.
Now, Republicans and anti-choice groups are doing everything they can to ensure Senator Davis never has the chance to see the Governors office, unless she is stopping by for a tour.
Think Progress reports that as of November 5, Texans must show a photo ID with their up-to-date legal name. It sounds like such a small thing, but according to the Brennan Center for Justice, only 66% of voting age women have ready access to a photo document that will attest to proof of citizenship. This is largely because young women have not updated their documents with their married names, a circumstance that doesn’t affect male voters in any significant way. Suddenly 34% of women voters are scrambling for an acceptable ID, while 99% of men are home free.
As of November 5, a birth certificate is not enough. Women voters will have to show legal proof of a name change: a marriage license, a divorce decree, or court ordered change; and they have to be the original documents. No photocopies allowed. This means thousands of women face the hassle of figuring out what they need and how to get it. Then they face at least a $20 fee, more if a woman doesn’t have the time to stand in line and wants it mailed. As a result, many women who are eligible to vote, won’t.
Republicans live by the idea that if you can win on the issues, change the rules. Of course, all of this is for women’s own good. And the GOP front runner, Attorney General Greg Abbott is stating that he, not Davis, is the pro-woman candidate. His reasoning behind that is that he went after back child support from deadbeat dads. This, of course, is a farce, as there is a difference between following a law and defending a law. Furthermore, Abbott’s cronies have labeled Davis everything from “Abortion Barbie” to “Too stupid to be Governor” and an offensive mix of the two, “Retard Barbie.” Governor Perry even got in to the mix, scolding Davis for her filibuster because of her own life story, in which she raised a child as a single mother at a very young age.
Women play an important part in elections. They have the power to sway an election one way or another. Texas is an odd state politically. They have a history of being deep red, and have given the nation some of the worst politicians in history. This includes the likes of George W. Bush and Rick Perry. The Governorship is a big step in American politics. Many go on to be Presidential candidates.
There is a lot of political speculation that Texas may become purple within only a few election cycles. If Senator Davis becomes Governor, that plan may be expedited. And every time that Abbott or the Right pull conniving moves like the Voter ID, all they do is reinvigorate those that they are targeting.
A video that goes over Voter ID laws throughout the country. It is no coincidence that the laws have been enacted in nearly all the bible belt, some of the deepest red, states.