Latinos May Fair Better With The Voter ID in Texas Than What Democrats Claim

By Alex Gonzalez

Any student of Statistics and Politics 101 will tell you that there is correlation between income and turnout. Poor voters and minorities tend to have lowers turnout rates than those voters with college degrees and high-income.  Thus, in Texas, the argument is that when states go from no ID requirement, or any ID, to the demand of only government issued IDs, the demand for an ID prevents voters from voting.  However,  there is little evidence of voter denial in Indiana and Georgia, and thus, there exists a slight relationship between the restrictiveness of voter ID laws and voter turnout. Conversely, Latinos in Texas could greatly benefit from a Voter ID law since more Latinos will be encouraged to get state ID if they want to vote, as multiple  studies in other states have found.

The argument by the US Department of Justice and Democrats in Texas is that, if implemented, the Voter ID legislation will prevent 600,000 Latinos from voting since Latinos are minority  poor and the bill affects the disenfranchised poor.  And since most studies presume that there is a direct  correlation between voter apathy and poverty,  Democrats immediately  deduce this bill is an attack on Latinos, as being Latino was reason enough to be poor. However, studies conducted on Georgia and Indiana, the two states with compulsory ID voter law since 2005, show no relationship between the restrictiveness of voter ID laws and voter turnout. Moreover, according the Federalist Society, in states like Georgia and Indiana that have had compulsory ID laws, Black voter turnout actually has increase from 56.6% to 60%   after the implementation of the ID Law.

Georgia, Indiana, and Texas

Texas passed a bill that is similar to those of Georgia and Indiana.  If we look at the bills,  they  are 90% identical on the type government-issued IDs acceptable to vote.    All of the bills below  must include a photo of the voter. With the exception of the certificate of citizenship, these forms of ID cannot be expired, or cannot have expired more than 60 days before the election.

Georgia Voter ID  Requirements

  • Georgia driver’s license, even if expired
  • ID card issued by the state of Georgia or the federal government
  • Free voter ID card issued by the state or county
  • U.S. passport
  • Valid employee ID card containing a photograph from any branch, department, agency, or entity of the U.S. Government, Georgia, or any county, municipality, board, authority or other entity of this state
  • Valid U.S. military identification card
  • Valid tribal photo ID

Indiana Voter ID Requirements

Specific forms of ID are not listed in statute. ID must be issued by the state of Indiana or the U.S. government and must show the following:

  • Name of individual to whom it was issued, which must conform to the individual’s registration record
  • Photo of the person to whom it was issued
  • Expiration date (if it is expired, it must have an expiration date after the most recent general election; military IDs are exempted from the requirement that ID bear an expiration date)
  • Must be issued by the United States or the state of Indiana

Texas new Voter law Requirements (pending implementation)

  • Driver’s license
  • Election identification certificate
  • Dept. of Public Safety personal ID card
  • U.S. military ID
  • U.S. citizenship certificate
  • U.S. passport
  • License to carry a concealed handgun issued by the Dept. of Public Safety

According to the DOJ:  Up to 795,955 registered voters in Texas do not have a Texas driver’s license… in some 70 Texas counties and inner cities that lack a DPS driver’s license office.   Hispanics are nearly twice as likely as non-Hispanics to live in these areas.. Texas lacks resources to allow convenient access to obtain a voter ID card, said Jeffrey Travillion, a spokesman for the Texas NAACP Branches. “We do not have enough resources so that the average person who wants to get their voter ID can do so in a reasonable period of time,” Travillion said. Inner-city residents will also suffer, said Mexican American Legislative Caucus Chairman Rep. Trey Fischer, D-San Antonio.  Folks who need a DPS ID card face at least a two-hour bus ride and “unconscionably long waiting lines” at driver’s license offices, Coleman said:

Latinos ought to be offended by the rational offered Mr. Travillion and Mr. Fisher because it portrays Latinos as helpless and  idle citizens who can’t even take a bus trip to get free ID to exercise the right to vote. More important, both Travillion and Fisher cannot make legal, democratic, or economic arguments against the Voter ID so they opt to use Latinos as handicapped class, victims.  If we compare the voter ID, it can be demonstrated that  voting turnout in the two states that had passed similar bill have actually increased voter turnout among minorities. The Supreme Court ruled Indiana’s Voter ID  constructional in 2005. Like in Texas, Democrats and civil rights groups opposed the law as unconstitutional and called it a thinly veiled effort to discourage elderly, poor and minority voters. The law was dubbed “nation’s stiffest Photo ID law, yet turnout increased 2%. And in Georgia similar boost in voter turnout was found among black voters.  And there is consistency in the increase of turnout among black voters since 2000 and 2005 respectively when the bills were passed

                                            Total Turnout Rates by

Year                        Indiana                                   Georgia     

                                               Black vote                                            Black vote

2010                       38.0%     ( 65.0%)                       60.6%                 (50.5%)        

2008                       60.3%     (60.0% )                      62.5%                 (65%. )            

2006                       37.7%     (51.5%)                         35.1%                  (42.6 %)

2004                       55.8%     (49.5%)                         56.4%                 (54.4%)                                    

2002                       33.3%                                            33.0%           

2000                       50.8%     (45.0% )                      47.6%                    ( 51.6% )

Furthermore, when the issue of similar laws affecting Latinos arise, the only “statistical” analysis was done by Matt Barreto, Stephen Nuno and Sanchez —analysts that often work with Union. But Barreto’s study was conducted by calling 500 residents in Indiana, not actual turnout in Indiana or Georgia.   As the Amicus Brief file to SOTUS points out:

“Rather than attempt to measure the actual impact of the Indiana Law on turnout across multiple elections, the Barreto study is simply a snapshot, telephone poll, taken in 2007, designed to determine what person in Indiana has access to photo identification. It bears, noting that Barreto’s study, “access” to identification means actually possessing such identification rather than been qualified or capable of possessing such identification. Thus a person who is otherwise capable of having an ID but who chooses not to obtain one has no “access” under the study by Barreto”

There is no reason why Latinos should fear the Voter ID. In fact, the bill may accelerate voter registration among Latino in Texas, as it occurred with blacks in Georgia and Indiana. The Other clear observation in these analysis is the there is clear correlation between low-income and democrat voter among Latinos, especially in south Texas.

According to the Texas state Controller, median household incomes in the South Texas region are lower than the statewide average has been a stronghold for Democrats. South Texas’ per capita personal income averaged nearly $20,300 in 2006, only 57.6 percent of the state average of $35,200. But income is growing faster in the region than in the state as a whole. However, Democrats, instead of encouraging Latinos to break away from voting obstacle—getting  an ID– and poverty in south Texas, keep portraying Latinos as a handicapped group, and thereby, promote the idea that Latinos will be affected by demands for a simple state ID before voting. Moreover, if the accepted model of correlation and income and turnout are accurate 100% accurate,  the new Law in fact may courage more poor Latinos in south Texas to finally take charge for whom they wish vote, other than just assuming that Democrats will do what is best for them by offer government programs.

With  a bit of luck, the implementation of the Voter ID in Texas will serve as a wake up call for Latinos, and they will register to vote and inevitably come out to vote so it cannot be presumed  that Latino is synonymous  with   poverty or voter apathy—idleness. Do we really want people voting who do not want to spend 1 hour to go the Department Public Safety to get a free ID to vote?   And if citizens cannot spend one hour to get your free state ID,  I am not sure we can entrust them with Democracy.  Additionally, Democrats should stop telling “minority” voters that they are being cheated out their rights–cuddling Latino adults who presume that is the government’s responsibility to “bus-in” unregistered voters to the nearest DPS to get an ID. We have military personal who vote still the time to vote from thousands of miles away, yet we have citizens who find a one-hour bus ride  cumbersome ride to get on ID.

In fact Latinos, should be weary if the Party who treats them like a child who cannot even get out for one out to go to the DPS and request a free ID.  Latinos need to be weary of Party that cannot fathom Latino going online for 5 minute to register to vote—especially young Latinos– and subsequently request an early voting ballot so they don’t have to come out of their homes. Idleness has never been a good formula to acquire political power.  But apparently democrats in Texas seem to think so

Alex Gonzalez  is a political Analyst and Political Director for Latinos Ready To Vote!  
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