Lone Star Project Voter ID/Redistricting Update

Jo-Carolyn Goode | 9/9/2014, 2:30 p.m.
The Lone Star Project helps support the lead plaintiffs challenging the Texas voter photo ID law and also provides financial, ...
Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos now hears the voter ID trial in Corpus Christi

To: Lone Star Project Friends and Supporters

From: Matt Angle

Re: Intentional Discrimination, Voter Photo ID &

Congressional Redistricting Litigation

Date: September 8, 2014

The Lone Star Project helps support the lead plaintiffs challenging the Texas voter photo ID law and also provides financial, research and technical support to a major plaintiff group in the congressional redistricting litigation still moving through federal court.

Sworn testimony in both the voter photo ID trial and the congressional redistricting trial is making a strong case that Greg Abbott and other state GOP leaders intentionally discriminated against African American and Hispanic Texans. Abbott provided assistance and advised the legislature to pass the discriminatory voter ID law and congressional redistricting plan. He is now spending millions in Texas taxpayer funds to defend them.

Voter Photo ID Litigation

The voter ID trial is underway now in Corpus Christi before Federal District Court Judge Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos. The trial began on September 2, and the court heard evidence from plaintiffs all week. Plaintiff's arguments will likely conclude on Monday or Tuesday, after which Greg Abbott's Office of the Attorney General will begin laying out their defense.

The lead plaintiffs in the voter ID litigation include Congressman Marc Veasey along with nearly a dozen other individuals and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). The Veasey/LULAC plaintiffs are represented by prominent civil rights attorneys J. Gerald Hebert, Armand Derfner and Chad Dunn (among others). Hebert, Derfner and Dunn have presented most of the witnesses put forward by plaintiffs so far, including voting rights experts, citizens who were denied the opportunity to vote and key minority elected officials including Congressman Veasey, State Senator Rodney Ellis and State Representative Ana Hernandez.

The US Department of Justice has intervened in the case and has also presented witnesses, and the Mexican American Legislative Caucus (MALC) has called State Representative Trey Martinez Fischer as a witness.

While there have been several press stories covering the Texas voter photo ID trial pointing out the problems with the law itself, most have failed to cover the crucial intentional discrimination claims. Many of the witnesses who have testified in the trial have provided important evidence showing that the Texas voter ID law is not only discriminatory in its effect, but was adopted with the intent to discriminate.

Voting rights expert, Dr. Allan Lichtman, concluded an extraordinary exchange detailing evidence of intentional discrimination by saying :

"The bottom line here is that SB14 [Texas voter photo ID law] was not passed despite race but was directly and knowingly passed because of race." (Trial transcript, 9/5/14 a.m., Case No. 2:14-CV-00193, page 99, lines 10, 11, 12)

In his formal report to the court, Dr. Lichtman specifically cites actions and statements of Attorney General Greg Abbott as evidence of intentional discrimination. Referring to Abbott's campaign appearance and acceptance of the endorsement of Ted Nugent who holds racists views and spouts racist comments, Dr. Lichtman stated in his report:

"A candidate like Attorney General Abbott cannot choose those who decide to support him, but he does choose those he decides to campaign with, a decision that is carefully calculated." (Lichtman: Report on Racially Discriminatory Intent Underlying Texas's Photo Voter Identification Law, SB14, page 69)