- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Sen. Tom Coburn vows to slow down budget-busting bills ahead of recess
- Obama fantasizes about more executive power, signs new order on federal contractors
- Clintons call Klein, Halper, Kessler ‘a Hat Trick of despicable actors’: report
- Boehner accuses Obama of ‘legacy of lawlessness’
- Pro-marijuana group claims responsibility for Brooklyn Bridge flag swap
- Young adults shun Obamacare mostly due to cost: survey
- Stabbing attack on transgender girl, 15, was ‘bias motivated,’ police say
- LGBT adults still lean overwhelmingly toward Democratic Party
- Lawmakers rattled by Syria genocide horrors, call on Obama to act
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: End Texas’ minority-voter suppression
Question of the Day
The state of Texas has a long and painful history of voter discrimination and intimidation dating back to the Reconstruction era. In the 1860s, Texas Gov. James Throckmorton refused to ratify the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. By refusing to support the amendment, which granted citizenship and equal protection under the laws to black Americans, Throckmorton was ordered to be removed from office by the federal government.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott recently made assertions that voting practices and redistricting in Texas were more about national politics, rather than constitutionally based rights. This is patently false, disingenuous and in direct contradiction to the history of racial politics in the Lone Star State. Jim Crow laws, literacy tests and poll taxes have been used throughout the state’s history. I had to pay a poll tax to vote in the first election that I participated in as a voter.
Mr. Abbott asserts that it is the job of the Texas Legislature to establish voting standards and draw congressional districts. The problem, however, is that the Legislature historically has drawn districts that have discriminated against minority voters.
Between 2000 and 2010, the population of Texas increased by 4.3 million people. Two-thirds of the growth occurred in the Hispanic community, while the black population increased by 11 percent. Despite these increases, the Republican controlled Legislature gerrymandered congressional districts such that the number of congressional seats in which a minority stood a chance of being elected declined from 11 to 10.
The Supreme Court and two federal courts have disagreed with the actions of Texas legislators. The federal courts found the redistricting plan and the voter-ID law that the legislature enacted unconstitutional. The Department of Justice found that the Legislature’s actions violated the Voting Rights Act and halted their implementation in 2012.
Mr. Abbott, Gov. Rick Perry and members of the Texas Legislature advocate for the use of voter-ID laws, allegedly to stop voter fraud. Studies have shown that voter fraud is virtually nonexistent in Texas. This requirement is simply another way of suppressing votes of students, senior citizens, racial minorities and the nearly 700,000 registered voters in Texas who lack an approved voter ID. Perhaps Mr. Abbott should revisit our state’s history before implementing such a burdensome law. Voting is a right that binds all Americans, and every citizen should have the ability to participate in a fair, open and transparent election without unnecessary burdens.
REP. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
TWT Video Picks
Both parties recognize the Democrats' scam
Get Breaking Alerts
- Inside the Ring: Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- Army's 3-D printed bombs to create 'a whole new universe' of lethal capabilities
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- GOP leaders delay border bill, leave Obama in control
- Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- Report: 40% of weapons sent to Afghanistan are unaccounted for
- CIA admits improperly hacking Senate computers in search of Bush-era information
- Colorado poll shows women tuning out Democrats' 'war on women' strategy
- 3 African leaders cancel trip to U.S. over Ebola outbreak; Obama still plans summit