HOUSTON, Texas — In Texas, the dispute over the state’s voter ID law continues in a Corpus Christi federal court. Those on the left claim that requiring voters to show a photo ID–six types of such ID cards are acceptable–is unfair to minority voters. But the state of Texas claims that such rules are necessary to ensure transparency in the voting process. Texas Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott publicly spoke out on the matter recently, claiming that the state’s voter ID law has not had a negative impact on voter turnout.
“There is absolutely zero proof, zero proof, that there is any suppression of the vote whatsoever because of voter ID laws,” Abbott told the Houston Chronicle.
The Justice Department and several advocacy groups are fighting against the law, which was passed by Texas Governor Rick Perry in 2011. Rules require voters to show one of six types of photo ID. Many on the left take issue with the fact that a concealed-weapon permit is acceptable proof of identity, but a college ID is not. They assert that the rules are designed to favor Republican voters, and that minority populations are unfairly targeted.
A left-leaning New York Times article complained, “Voter-ID laws have never been about making voting easier. They are virtually always Republican-led efforts to keep groups of eligible voters who are more likely to vote Democratic from the polls.”
But since the law was passed by Perry in 2011, voter turnout has not decreased. Abbott told the Chronicle that suppressing turnout is not the goal of the State of Texas. He said, “We’re not trying to disenfranchise anyone. We want more people to turn out and vote.”
Abbott’s office, which is arguing against the suit in the case, points out that residents of Texas may obtain free IDs at any of the state’s Department of Public Safety locations. “We’re not trying to disenfranchise anyone,” Abbott told the Chronicle. “We want more people to turn out and vote.”
An assistant state attorney general additionally stated that similar photo IDs are used by thousands of Texans everyday to prove that they are who they say they are.
Testimony for the Corpus Christi trial began earlier in September; closing arguments are expected to be heard on September 22. A ruling is not expected to occur before Texas’ November midterm elections. This means that Texans will be made to abide by the rules, and show one of the six acceptable forms of ID.
Follow Kristin Tate @KristinBTate.