Friday, September 07, 2012
Texas GOP Wastes Money To Restrict Voting Rights And Representation
But there are many politicians in this country, including my own state of Texas, that do not believe this. They believe voting should be restricted to those who would vote for them and their party -- the Republican Party. Here in Texas, and in many other states, the Republicans have used their power in office to pass a couple of laws that could only be described as promoting discrimination.
The first is the redistricting law they passed. Although at least 90% of the growth in Texas population between 2000 and 2010 was in the minority population, the Republicans only created one new minority seat (and three new white Republican-leaning seats). They hoped that the one minority seat would allow them to sneak their discriminatory redistricting past the Justice Department. It didn't work, so they took the matter to the federal courts. In spite of spending more than a million dollars, the court has ruled against them. Now the Attorney General is going to spend even more state money to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.
The second is the Voter ID law they passed. They claimed it was to prevent voter fraud. But they were unable to show a federal court that any widespread fraud even existed in the state. The court saw through their specious argument and recognized the law for what it was -- an effort to suppress the vote of groups who would likely vote for Democrats. They have also spent over a million dollars trying to defend this obviously discriminatory law in the courts. Now the Attorney General is going to spend even more state money to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.
There's no doubt this is naked and ugly discrimination, but it is also sheer insanity. Like too many states, Texas has a budget deficit. In the last legislative session, they drastically cut state services for the citizens of Texas (including a $5 billion cut to education). Now they are facing another large and growing deficit when the legislature meets again next January -- and they are already talking about more cuts in services.
How is it that a state with large deficit problems can afford to spend millions of dollars to defend discrimination? Obviously they believe that state money should be used to keep Republicans in power, and not for the good of the state's citizens. This is shameful behavior. But they are Republicans, and today's Republicans have no shame.