In 2007, when photo voter ID was first being debated in the Texas House, State Rep. Rafael Anchia, a leading Democrat leader from Dallas, spoke against it, telling his fellow legislators that they were targeting the wrong problem: “…Vote by mail that we know is the greatest source of voter fraud in this state,” Anchia said.
Today, years after the Texas photo voter ID law finally passed and has the support of 85% of Texas voters, the left is still trying to get rid of the rules.
In the latest case, Texas State LULAC v. Paxton, which was just heard at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) argues that voters should not have to prove where they actually live when they register to vote. The Texas Public Policy Foundation has joined Attorney General Ken Paxton in arguing in support of new law that requires proof of residency.
When the left argued against photo voter ID, they said it was racist to make voters prove who they are. Now, they are using the same outrage to argue that requiring people to register to vote at their actual home—not their office or a house where they used to live or even a post office box—is somehow a violation of, among other things, the Fourteenth Amendment.
What is ironic about this is that the Fourteenth Amendment, which ensures the right of every citizen to vote, is also where representational voting is defined. Voters are apportioned by where they live so they can elect people to represent them. To do that, voters must demonstrate not only that they live in Texas, they must also show what county they live in, what city and what precinct. Because nobody actually lives at say, P.O. Box 431, a mailbox can’t be used without other proof of residency.
The people at LULAC undoubtedly know this, but that’s not the point of this lawsuit. Instead, they went to court to challenge the law as part of the same old media strategy to paint Texas election laws as some kind of “voter suppression” plan.
LULAC certainly aren’t the only people pushing the “voter suppression” lie in Texas. Earlier this year, the left-wing Houston Chronicle won a Pulitzer Prize for accusing Texas election reforms of “voter suppression” going so far as predicting that the state would lose more than $31 billion in economic activity and 223,000 jobs by 2025 because of backlash over photo voter ID and other election reforms. In fact, Texas lost no money and zero jobs because of election reforms.
And who can forget the Texas House Democrats who shut down the Texas House in 2021 and flew to Washington D.C. to protest the “voter suppression” in the election reforms bill? A Texas Public Policy Foundation poll showed that Texans opposed the walkout by a 2-to-1 margin. The Democrats returned home with their tails between their legs and never mentioned it again.
The Democrats’ stunt didn’t pay off because the whole idea that anyone who is eligible to vote in Texas is intentionally prevented from voting just doesn’t hold water. Voter turnout in Texas increased 40% in the 2020 presidential election and 76% in the 2018 gubernatorial election. In 2012, 58% of registered Texans voted but in 2020, almost 67% voted.
A Texas Association of Business poll conducted last year found that 95% of Texans said it was easy to vote here. That’s Democrats, Republicans, Independents, African-Americans, Hispanics, Asian-Americans, everybody. The same poll found that 81% of Texans believe the identifications requirements for voters should be the same for voting in person as they are by mail. Anyone who votes in-person in Texas knows that the first thing they ask you when you show up to vote is “what is your address?”
As Rep. Anchia pointed out years ago, mail-in ballot fraud has been a long-standing problem in Texas because mail-in ballots are inherently less secure. There is no way to guarantee that the ballot was received or filled out by the voter who applied for it. The “protections” that were in place in the past, including matching of signatures, proved meaningless.
Texans have dealt with mail-in ballot fraud for decades and they want it to end. That’s why the Legislature instituted common sense mail-in ballot reforms to ensure Texans have elections they can trust, and why Attorney General Paxton and TPPF are fighting in court to protect them.