Another setback for the anti-integrity crowd.
A coalition of 15 states is supporting Texas’ voter ID law in an amicus brief filed last week aimed at protecting states’ “discretionary legislative authority over elections.”
The amici States have an interest in ensuring that such authority is not undermined by judicial decisions that would grant voter ID opponents repeated opportunities to facially attack election laws that have already been deemed valid.
Led by Indiana attorney general Greg Zoeller, the coalition of states joining the amicus includes Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Texas’ entire Republican congressional delegation also filed an amicus brief in support of the state’s voter ID law, known as SB 14, arguing that Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act has been misinterpreted.
The panel here adopted a radically different theory of Section 2. The panel invalidated Texas’s race-neutral regulation of the time, place, and manner of voting through its voter ID law. It found that minorities are less likely to possess qualifying IDs because of underlying socioeconomic inequalities, which the panel predicted could lead to a disparity in minority voter participation… The panel thus concluded that Texas’s race-neutral election process violates Section 2… For several reasons, this novel theory contradicts both Section 2’s plain language and Supreme Court and Circuit precedent identifying the sort of discriminatory “results” proscribed by the statute.
An en banc hearing before the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled for May 24.
“A federal judge has upheld North Carolina’s voter ID law in a ruling posted Monday evening.
“U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder issued a 485-page ruling dismissing all claims in the challenge to the state’s sweeping 2013 election law overhaul.
“Schroeder, a George W. Bush appointee, also upheld portions of the 2013 law that reduced the number of days people could vote early, eliminated same-day registration and voting and prohibited people from casting a ballot outside their precinct.”
Yet again, the dire “voter ID will suppress turnout” predictions of the anti-integrity left fail to materialize.
Wisconsin’s turnout rate in Tuesday’s presidential primary exceeded the state’s own bullish forecast, topped any Wisconsin Primary since 1972, and easily bested that of any state that has voted this year except for New Hampshire. Nearly 2.1 million Wisconsinites voted, based on unofficial returns.
Essentially, half the people that could vote did vote: roughly 47% of the state’s voting-age population and an estimated 49% of all eligible voting-age citizens. “That’s unusual,” said turnout expert Michael McDonald, for a contest “this late in the presidential election calendar.”
In the wake of primary participation “7 points higher than what state election officials predicted,” Democrats quickly pivoted to complaining about “long lines” – lines caused primarily by the huge turnout, not voter ID, but also in many instances by same-day registration at the polls, particularly at “sites that had a high student population.”
Voters could have avoided the inconvenience of that extra wait in line on Election Day simply by registering in advance. Wisconsin primary voters also had ten days to vote early before Election Day, and free IDs have been available since 2012 to any voter who doesn’t already have an accepted photo ID. The University of Wisconsin-Madison even opened a second location for students to get free voter IDs printed in “less than two minutes.” Hardly a concerted effort to “suppress” turnout.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker summed it up on Twitter: “Biggest turnout since 1972 Presidential primary shows that photo ID law works. Easy to vote, hard to cheat.”
“The repeated narrative pushed by critics” that requiring identification to vote ‘suppresses’ voters “is a myth. That claim has been disproven by the turnout results in states such as Georgia and Indiana, whose voter ID laws have been in place for years. In fact, these states experienced almost no problems despite apocalyptic predictions of opponents.”
States may, but are not required to, draw legislative districts based on total population
Justice Ginsburg: “We hold, based on constitutional history, this Court’s decisions, and longstanding practice, that a State may draw its legislative districts based on total population…
“Because history, precedent, and practice suffice to reveal the infirmity of appellants’ claims, we need not and do not resolve whether, as Texas now argues, States may draw districts to equalize voter-eligible population rather than total population.”
Justice Thomas: “I agree with the majority that our precedents do not require a State to equalize the total number of voters in each district. States may opt to equalize total population… In my view, the majority has failed to provide a sound basis for the one-person, one-vote principle because no such basis exists. The Constitution does not prescribe any one basis for apportionment within States. It instead leaves States significant leeway in apportioning their own districts to equalize total population, to equalize eligible voters, or to promote any other principle consistent with a republican form of government. The majority should recognize the futility of choosing only one of these options. The Constitution leaves the choice to the people alone—not to this Court.”
Again the dire “voter suppression” predictions of the anti-integrity left fail to materialize.
On March 15, some 2.3 million North Carolinians cast ballots in the Democratic, Republican, and Libertarian primaries for president, governor, U.S. Senate, and other offices. That comes to about 36 percent of all registered voters. The turnout rate was similar to the 37 percent who voted in the 2008 presidential primaries and the 35 percent who voted in the 2012 primaries. During the 1990s and early 2000s, presidential primary turnouts in North Carolina ranged from 16 percent to 31 percent.
This year’s primaries were the first to be held under a set of new election rules that included both a more compact early-voting schedule and a requirement that voters either show a photo ID or sign an affidavit attesting to one of several specified exceptions… None of these changes appears to have had a substantial effect on turnout. None suppressed the vote.
That “more compact early-voting schedule” – 10 days instead of 17 – drew a record high turnout of 11 percent, up from 8 percent in 2012. High turnout and few voter ID problems were reported by counties across the state, including Mecklenburg and Buncombe. Statewide, the number of primary voters with voter ID issues “was tiny: 0.1 percent.”
“A grand jury on Monday indicted Eatonville Mayor Anthony Grant and two others on felony voter-fraud charges, accusing the trio of coercing voters and submitting illegally obtained absentee ballots in the 2015 election that put Grant at the town’s helm.
“In six cases examined, the grand jury found that Grant, Mia Antionette Nowells and James Randolph solicited an absentee ballot from someone who didn’t live in Eatonville, marked ballots for voters and forced people to register to vote, according to the 25-count indictment.”
Voter registration is already easy. Making registration mindless doesn’t make more people care about voting.
“In theory, if you increase the voter rolls, more people would cast ballots. In theory. Count me among the skeptics who wonder if increasing the automatic registration will do much more than put even more uninterested voters on the rolls…
“Canada implemented automatic voter registration in the 1990s, according to Michael McDonald, a University of Florida professor who tracks turnout, and he told NPR that while only 1-2 percent of Canadians opted out, voter turnout did not increase. In fact, it dropped…
“Our problem, it seems, has much more to do with apathy than the inability to register.”