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Aster's avatar

Is it racist for Texas to require an I.D. to vote in the next election and why?

Asked by Aster (19490points) October 19th, 2014

The Supreme Court upheld a request by Texas wherein all Texas voters would have to show one of three or four I.D.s in order to vote. If you think this is racist why do you think so?

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50 Answers

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

No I don’t think it is racists. it is only to prove that the person voting has the right to vote in a legal election. Is it racists if I have to show I.D.when boarding an airplane? Is it racists if I have to show I.D. to buy a bottle of wine or cigarettes?. Is it racists if I have to show I.D. to enter a Federal Building? Is it racists if I have to show I.D. to cash a check or apply for a credit card? Is it racist if I have to show I.D. to open an account in a bank? I could go on and on but I’m 100% sure that most people on Fluther will disagree with me.

If you read this you can see that there are many different ways to get the voter I.D. and even exceptions for people who are disabled.

Whey should illegals or dead people vote for my Representatives? So many questions, so little time…....

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

In what universe could that possibly be racist.

Jaxk's avatar

Of course not. I think @BeenThereSaidThat covered it pretty well but some want to turn everything into a racist argument. Every election someone gets accused of voter fraud. Why wouldn’t we want the system to have integrity?

jerv's avatar

I think it’s more classist than racist, though race plays a role in that certain races are more likely to be too poor to get to someplace to pay for a valid ID.

That said, I doubt it’s intentional. Any racism/classism here is merely the result of reality being real, and not some sinister plot to suppress the poor/black vote. I see no exclusionary intent.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

@jerv You don’t have to “pay” for a valid Id to vote.

jca's avatar

I don’t think of it as racist. I know many people do think that but I don’t agree.

Darth_Algar's avatar


Last I knew boarding an airplane, buying cigarettes or beer, or applying for a credit card were not Constitutionally enshrined rights. And presumably one has already proven their eligibility to vote upon registering to vote. Also, unless the state is willing to provide the requisite ID free of charge then requiring an ID to vote is tantamount to a poll tax, which is forbidden by the Constitution.

kritiper's avatar

It’s only racist if the requirement pertains to only one certain sect and not all people.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

How does this effect one so called race more than another.

To get really technical there is no Constitutional conflict here as long as the ID cards are demanded and issued by state.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Why would it be racist? I mean, if they only required Latino people and blacks to show ID, that would be racist. But they’re requiring everyone to show ID.

thorninmud's avatar

It’s pretty clear that the effect of the laws will impact some racial groups more than others, but that’s not enough to prove racist intent on the part of the legislators who pushed the laws through. And there’s certainly nothing in the text of the laws themselves that singles out any particular racial group. So two possibilities: 1) Legislators are concerned with addressing a real threat to our electoral system, and it’s just too bad that some groups are going to be more inconvenienced than others, or 2) This is a cynical way of disadvantaging certain groups under the cover of defending against a non-existent problem.

A study conducted by USC tried to get some insight into racial biases on the part of the legislators behind these bills. They sent an email to 1871 state legislators in 14 states with voter ID laws. It asked a simple question:

Hello (Representative/Senator NAME),

My name is (voter NAME) and I have heard a lot in the news lately about identification being required at the polls. I do not have a driver’s license. an I still vote in November? Thank you for your help.

(voter NAME)

Some of the emails were sent by “Jacob Smith”, the others were sent by “Santiago Rodriguez”. Half of the emails in the two groups were written in Spanish and half were in English.

The correct answer to the question in all cases would have been “Yes”, since none of the laws required a driver’s license to vote.

The emails sent under the Anglo name were much more likely to receive a reply (even if written in Spanish) from legislators who had supported the legislation (an almost 20% difference). Among the opponents of the legislation, there was no statistically relevant difference in response rate. This indicates a pronounced bias.

Add to this the fact that the “problem” being addressed by these laws is virtually non-existent, and draw your own conclusions.

janbb's avatar

I would consider it as classist with the intent to suppress poor, largely Democratic voters. It is hard for working class or indigent people to get to the polls, let alone at times produce a birth certificate. There have been very few incidence of voter fraud in person so there seems some other purpose at work here. A recent ruling by a circuit court judge in another jurisdiction struck down a similar law and detailed the arguments against voter I.D. requirements very clearly. Here’s one article from the New York Times about the issue but there are many more.

Pandora's avatar

My only official picture IDs, is my drivers licence, military dependent card and my passport. Last I checked I pay for my drivers license and passport. It isn’t free.
@BeenThereSaidThat Yep you do. At least in NC. My mom had no official ID of any sort. She was retired, and doesn’t drive. So when she went to buy a home they needed her to get an official picture ID. Which she had to pay for at DMV. She has all sorts of other ID but none with her picture on it.
My only official picture IDs, is my drivers licence, military dependent card and my passport. Last I checked I pay for my drivers license and passport. It isn’t free. Now if it wasn’t that I was able do drive her to get it, than she would also have to pay for the taxi to take her to and from the DMV which was 15 miles away. The ID was cheap, but when you consider a poor person may have to pay $40 dollars minimum, it can keep the really poor from bothering to get an ID. Especially an elderly person living on his or her retirement. Money they may need for medication or food or rent because every penny counts.

For years they have been crying that it is necessary to stop voter fraud and yet voter fraud really isn’t an issue, so why make it mandatory? The real problem is fixing voter lines so certain parties have an advantage in voters outcome. Which NC likes to do and in certain counties they like to misinform people about where to vote and then toss out their votes. They are famous for redistricting without any notice. Not the town I lived in but our surrounding districts where horrible. Being most of the times this happened in poor neighborhoods, that were primarily minorities, you can’t help but wonder if voter ID is meant to prevent minority votes from happening. They want to be fair. Pay for all voter picture ID cards and sent out vans to rural areas to make sure everyone is fairly ID’ed.
Then it won’t look fishy.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

The Media has outdone itself with the amount of brainwashing I’ve read.

janbb's avatar

^^ The media is not a monolith and we all choose what sources to believe.

Darth_Algar's avatar

When you have no rebuttal call the other side brainwashed.

jerv's avatar

@BeenThereSaidThat Maybe not, but you do have to pay for WA Department of Licensing issued ID

Dept. of Licensing charges $54, and has limited locations and hours. The one I go too isn’t near any bus stops, and usually takes me long enough to pretty much need to take a day off work, usually unpaid.

Where do you live where ID cards are free and easy to get for those without tranportation and vacation time from work?

johnpowell's avatar

It is about suppressing the votes of Democrats. If the poor voted for Republicans this wouldn’t be a issue.

Winter_Pariah's avatar

@jerv ouch, $54? Well, so much for the idea of ever moving to Washington. By the way, in Texas, it’s $16 for a state ID card, $17 including the administrative fee. I know in CA I had to pay $32 and in AL I paid $28 so I imagined that it would be around $30.00 nationwide so I’m a bit surprised that the range in prices for ID’s vary so much from state to state.

majorrich's avatar

maybe it’s because I have never known different, but in Ohio, a photo ID is required when you check in to vote. It’s never been a problem for me and I have no problem with it. I am sure everyone needs to prove they are themselves to cash checks or to travel to other countries or go to school or buy beers or something. Why wouldn’t it follow that when they check your name against the registry that you prove you are who you say you are is a pretty good thing?

stanleybmanly's avatar

It’s all a matter of perspective. On the face of it, it’s tough to assert that an ID requirement is by itself racist. However, it is beyond hypocritical to assert that the sudden urge to rescind well established practices, roll back polling hours, and crack down on imaginary fraud has nothing to do with politics. It might not be racist to want to win at the voting booth. But it’s just blatantly transparent as to just which block of would be voters these measures are aimed. It’s a hopeless rear guard movement by terrified lily white conservatives over the inevitable “browning” of the country. It’s rather pathetic, but it buys the right a little time.

jerv's avatar

@Winter_Pariah We have no state income tax, and that’s one of the ways we compensate.

Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

@jerv to answer your question, where I live we don’t have voter id cards. I live in the “Peoples Republic of New York”. <she writes sarcastically>

jca's avatar

I just looked, out of curiosity to see what the NYS fee is for this ID. It’s between “free” and $14, depending on the applicant’s circumstances. See link:

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

that NY id information you posted from what I gather is for people who need some sort of Id, but we don’t actually have a voter Id to vote in elections.

jca's avatar

This is what you need as far as ID, in order to vote in NYS:

Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
majorrich's avatar

Isn’t some sort of id required to register for voting? If not, what’s keeping anyone from registering a couple dozen times.

johnpowell's avatar

ID isn’t needed here and we vote by mail here too. I register and vote by mail. No fraud that I know of. So at least here it would toss up flags if 12 ballots were sent to the same house.

One time I messed up my ballet and had to go in to fill out one in person ballot and they said my signature on the ballot didn’t match what was on my voter registration card. Being a lefty I have a very hard time signing the same signature twice. I showed ID and they accepted it.

The concept of standing in line seems completely stupid to me. Vote by mail..

jerv's avatar

One thing that is becoming evident here is that the ease and expense of getting an ID varies by location, so I can see how those from the land of cheap/free IDs who live near a polling place wouldn’t see an issue, nor would those who vote by mail.

How many here pay 9.5% sales tax like us residents of King/Snohomish Counties in WA? How many require annual safety inspection and/or emissions testing to renew your car’s registration? Please, bear in mind that things operate differently in different places!

rojo's avatar

Yes. The law was enacted ostensibly to solve a problem that does not exist. Politifacts shows a whopping 18 cases of voter fraud in the ten years from 2002 to 2012.

Over the 13 years of Abbott’s tenure, his office can only cite two fraudulent votes that might have been stopped by the ID law. To put that another way, such votes accounted for one out of every 18.7 million votes cast in Texas during that period—and that’s counting only the general elections for statewide races. Meanwhile, 796,000 Texans, by the state’s own numbers, lack an ID.

Texas’s voter ID law, passed in 2011, was blocked the following year under the Voting Rights Act (VRA) by a federal court, which found that it discriminated against minorities,

In most cases, voter-fraud violations in Texas have involved mail-in ballots. A few involved felons who aren’t allowed to vote. Some involved an election official engaged in illegal behavior. But none of those would have been stopped by the photo ID requirement.

Nevertheless, Abbott defends voter ID and says the fact that he hasn’t found many cases of in-person voter fraud doesn’t mean there aren’t any.

In a statement vowing to fight the federal government, Abbott noted: “Just days after the U.S. Department of Justice arrested a Texas woman for illegally voting five times in the state election, the Obama administration is suing to stop Texas’ commonsense voter ID law.”

That case involves a woman who mailed five absentee ballots in the 2012 primary in South Texas. A requirement for photo ID at the polls wouldn’t have made a difference.

rojo's avatar

AT A GLANCE: Voter fraud cases

Here’s a breakdown of election cases prosecuted by Attorney General Greg Abbott from 2004 to 2012 (Cases in which voter ID requirements might have made a difference in bold):

Mail-in ballot violations: 33

Charges dismissed: 8

Ineligible felon votes: 8

Acquitted of charges: 3

Voter impersonation: 3

Election official divulged results before poll closing: 2

Registered to vote in wrong precinct: 2

Forged signatures on bond referendum petition: 1

Illegal campaign donations: 1

Kept candidates off water board ballot: 1

Legislative aide spreads negative information via email: 1

Recruiting noncitizens to vote: 1

Illegally assisted voter: 1

Ineligible voter: 1

SOURCE: Attorney general’s office

So, you can draw your own conclusions, Is this to prevent widespread fraud (In which case WTF don’t you address the most egregous part, mail in ballots) or is it for some other reason (such as voter suppression)?

rojo's avatar

I think this quote from Ian Millhiser pretty well says it all:

For much of the Jim Crow Era, the South was a one party region. General elections were largely formalities, and the Democratic Party’s candidate was all but guaranteed victory. So, in 1923, Texas tried to prevent African Americans from voting by enacting a law providing that “in no event shall a negro be eligible to participate in a Democratic party primary election held in the State of Texas.” When this law was struck down by the Supreme Court, Texas enacted a new law allowing the state Democratic party to establish rules that only permitted “white democrats” to vote in the primary. When that law was struck down, the state party passed a resolution, pursuant to no law whatsoever, providing that only “white citizens” may vote in a Democratic primary. This action by the state Democrats was ultimately upheld by the Supreme Court, although the justices reversed course nine years later.

The lesson is that, if you allow a voter suppression law to go into effect for just one election, then the supporters of that law are likely to come up with a new way to suppress the vote if the first law is ultimately struck down. And even if the second voter suppression law is ultimately struck down, this cycle can continue forever so long as each law is allowed to be in effect for just one election. This is why, when President Lyndon Johnson proposed the Voting Rights Act to a joint session of Congress, he warned that “[e]very device of which human ingenuity is capable” was used to deny African Americans the right to vote in the Jim Crow South.

Jaxk's avatar

Why those that say there is no fraud celebrate those convicted of that very fraud?

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk I don’t recall anybody claiming there is no voter fraud, but there is PLENTY of proof that voter fraud is a smaller problem (by orders of magnitude; well under 0.01%, even if all the alleged cases are actually true) than Conservatives admit, just as the drug use amongst welfare recipients is well under one-tenth what Conservatives claimed when they used many millions of taxpayer dollars to kick a few dozen people off of the dole.

With a proven track record like that, I think that any rational, intelligent, sane person would at least be a little skeptical of Conservative’s claims instead of taking them at face value. Given that the source you cite has an ad with an endorsement from Sarah Palin, I think it safe to say that your information is from a highly biased source. If there were any truth to that article then yes, it’d be a travesty, but skeptic that I am, I’m not taking the word of one biased source as gospel.

It really didn’t take much digging to find out that the truth is a bit different either. In fact, I found no praise at all (I don’t know where you got that from), just tons of ranting from places like,, and other such places, and a bit of neutral coverage.

Since you probably won’t follow that link though, allow me to post the relevant portions here:

“I am very glad the county prosecutor and judge reconsidered and got her out of jail, but she is not a hero,” Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairman Tim Burke, who was at the rally, told the Enquirer. “What she did was criminal conduct and was particularly problematic because of her role as a poll worker.”


“We did not celebrate or applaud a convicted felon,” Hitlon said. “We congratulated a lady with a health issues coming home to take care of her sick sister.”

However, If there is any real truth to this, then she isn’t maliciously fraudulent, merely a bit…. well, stupid.

But enough of that. Tell me, @Jaxk, are you in favor of abolishing absentee/mail-in ballots, or are you willing to concede that the ID restriction would not have made a bit of difference in Melowese Richardson’s case? I mean, absentee ballots figure heavily into her case, so I personally fail to see how many of the voter ID laws would’ve prevented actions like hers; actions that, according to @rojo‘s information, account for about half of all voter fraud.

Jaxk's avatar

Wow. You do realize that you’re quoting the Democratic Party Chairman as your unbiased source. It was a Voting Rights Rally. She was embraced by Al Sharpton. Maybe you want to believe that it had nothing to do with voting rights but if you look at the rest of her record, she was not merely stupid nor is there anything else to celebrate.

“Richardson was previously convicted of threatening to kill a witness in a criminal case against her brother; of stealing; of drunken driving; and of beating someone in a bar fight, according to past Enquirer stories.”

Darth_Algar's avatar

Enquirer? As in National Enquirer?

Jaxk's avatar

Hey, It wasn’t my link.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Nevermind. I somehow missed that the linked publication was the “Cincinnati Enquirer”. Didn’t get to read the article much before my computer crashed and had to be rebooted (just went back to read it again). But I’d argue that the bit you quoted about her history speaks in favor of her being stupid. But regardless it has no relevance to her voter fraud case one way or the other.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk Quoting the source. (in this case, a ranking Democrat) seemed to be the most concise way to shoot down your claim that Democrats embrace voter fraud.

And leave it to you to focus on bashing that instead of proving the correctness of your position by addressing the last paragraph.

jerv's avatar

Also, have you ever noticed that the truth is often between the extremes, and very rarely at the extremes? Or have you been living at the extremes so long that nothing else exists for you?

I’m just trying to figure you out because I possibly naively believe you can be reasoned with. That you can actually see things from viewpoints other than your own, even those you don’t agree with, rather than just be stubborn to the point of deafness and/or putting words in people’s mouths.

I’ve extended an olive branch to you before only to have it smacked away. I’m going to offer it again just as a test of your character. Just address my last paragraph above without your characteristic derision… or prove that you’re here to sow discord instead of discourse.

Jaxk's avatar


If you want to change the question go ahead and ask another question. I will at that time decide whether to address it or not. In the mean time, I’m not interested in getting into another name calling match with you. I have tried to restrict my posts to the issue at hand or to the links you think support your case. You on the other hand seem to want to demean me personally. We’ve been down this road before. I’m simply not interested.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@Jaxk I’m not going to call you names, but do you seriously believe that pathetic link of that clearly deranged woman is credible evidence for massive voter fraud? It’s more than obvious that conservatives have absolutely NO interest in depriving lunatics of their access to the polls. In fact, I’m very curious as to exactly which way the crazy lady was leaning in those repeat visits.

Jaxk's avatar


She was invited to a democratic voting rights rally. I suspect she voted democratic (plus the article says she was a democrat). Is it your contention that only provable massive voter fraud should be addressed? My concern is that it is very difficult to find voter fraud in our current system, let alone prove it. If fraud is very easy and difficult to prove people will do it. Ms Richardson was a poll worker and knew very well it was illegal. Still she would not have been caught if she had not admitted, on tape, that she had done it. It seems incredibly naïve to assume that a hole like this in our voting process will not be exploited in very close races with the level of emotion we have seen in recent years. Ms Richardson is merely an example of the people that care more about the outcome than the process. How many are like her, I have no idea. Nor are the actual numbers the point. It is the obvious hole in the system that is the point. And it should be plugged.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk I asked a pretty direct question in clear English, so I see no need to repeat it….. unless you are having issues with reading comprehension. (I doubt that since you seem otherwise intelligent.) While I am disappointed that unwilling to just follow directions and answer the simple question put forth there, I am not surprised. This is far from the first time you have WILLFULLY “misunderstood” and behaved as though I were speaking Klingon, and I suspect that it won’t be the last.

Everybody leans; some, like your source, just lean further than others. Links from a relatively neutral site that happen to quote a ranking Democrat are, to my mind, less biased than sites that are notably to the right of the RNC website or campaign ads of most Republican candidates. A notably left-leaning site (the second link) that condemns Richardson’s actions pretty much refutes your assertion. But yet, you prefer a far-right rant on what Democrats think over an actual op-ed article from an actual Democrat. That seems illogical to me, as I think one can get a more accurate assessment of what one thinks by asking them than you can by taking the opinion of their opponent.

If you wished to, I am sure you could understand why I might be lead to think that you care more about propaganda than truth. And you may also see why your dismissiveness may lead to bad reactions as well. But since it’s something that’s happened for years, I am going to assume that you have zero interest in changing your behavior.

Now, your most recent post is a rare example of why I have not completely written you off. It may surprise you, but I actually have some respect for you… despite what seems like a deliberate effort on your part to lose all of it. You do occasionally come out with something that is insightful, factually accurate, and presented in an inoffensive way.

So, are you going to answer my question in the same manner as you addressed @stanleybmanly, or are you going to show for the third time that you you would rather continue a grudge? I treat you the way I do as I believe in “reap what you sow”, and you’ve sown a lot over the years (mostly by a degree if misunderstanding that can only be intentional). But I’ll try to be nicer if you’re willing to try being a bit less like your avatar.

Jaxk's avatar

I have no interest in responding to you.

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