05.08.12

Voter ID update

Posted in Around The State, Elections at 11:43 am by wcnews

In the pre-trial phase leading up to the trial for Texas’ Voter ID law the State of Texas, aka Greg Abbott and the GOP legislators, are acting like they have something to hide.  Via Texas Redistricting, Court not happy with Texas in voter ID case; says it will give State one last chance for July trial.

In a harshly worded order issued this afternoon, the court in the Texas voter ID case reprimanded the state for what it said were “well-documented” discovery violations “that can only be interpreted as having the aim of delaying the Defendants’ ability to receive and analyze data and documents in a timely fashion.”

The court said:

Texas has repeated ignored or violated directives and orders of this Court that were designed to expedite discovery, and Texas has failed to produce in a timely manner key documents that Defendants need to prepare their defense.  Most troubling is Texas’ conduct with respect to producing its key state databases, which are central to Defendants’ claim that S.B. 14 has a disparate and retrogressive impact on racial and/or language minority groups.  The record reflects that these databases are voluminous, complex, and essential to the preparation of the opinions of Defendants’ expert witnesses. Yet, according to Texas, the full production of such databases to the United States was only complete on May 4, 2012 – 35 days after they were initially due.  The production to Defendant-Intervenors is still not complete.

The court told Texas that “[b]ased on the record to date, this Court would be well within its discretion to continue the July 9 trial date, to impose monetary sanctions against Texas, or to keep the July 9 trial date and impose evidentiary sanctions such as an adverse inference upon Texas.”

But the court is giving them one last chance to comply.

The conditions imposed by the court’s order include mandates that Texas not require subpoenas for appearance of any current legislators or state employees and that Texas not assert any additional claims of privilege other than those already raised with the court.

The order also directed that Texas complete database production by Thursday, May 9, and production of all other non-privileged documents by this Friday, May 11,

The court’s order can be found here.

It’s looked all along, as the state has been dragging its feet in this case, that they know if they released what the DOJ is asking for the law wouldn’t be found legal. This is just more evidence. It’s still likely that the state will, begrudgingly, comply. But it’s still unlikely the law will make it through legal scrutiny.

The Texas GOP enacted their dream voter ID law, having big majorities in both chamber in the legislature, and overreached. They could have passed a Voter ID bill that would have passed legal scrutiny, they chose not to.  Voter ID has always been a fix for a problem that doesn’t exist.

See Kuff, Voter ID trial likely to be delayed, and, Brains and Eggs, Greg Abbott is either incompetent or defiantly ignorant.

Here’s the statement from the Texas Democratic Party:

The Court is getting tired of the State’s games on voter ID. The State of Texas continues to drag its feet and hide information on the effects of their voter suppression legislation. Texas refuses to furnish key data because it will prove beyond a doubt that the voter ID law violates the Voting Rights Act. The absolute intent of the Republican voter suppression legislation is to disenfranchise voters, and it will be difficult for the State to prove otherwise. The State of Texas needs to stop playing games on discovery.

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