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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 9, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 37
Texas commits voter fraud, feds charge
Section One
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Texas commits voter fraud, feds charge

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The state of Texas is distributing 'inaccurate or misleading information' to poll workers and would-be voters about ID requirements for the November elections, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) charged.

'Limited funds are being spent on inaccurate materials,' the DOJ wrote in a September 6 legal filing.

In its filing, the DOJ asked US District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos to make the state 'issue corrections to past press releases and other public statements' by Texas officials and 'update and redistribute all electronic resources to reflect that all voters' may participate in the election without having to show types of ID previously required by state law.

A federal appeals court struck down a 2011 Texas law requiring that voters show at least one of seven types of photo ID. The law was discriminatory and too restrictive, the court said.

Last month Judge Gonzales ordered Texas to spend $2.5 million to educate potential voters about the new, relaxed ID requirements, so that voters lacking the previously required forms of ID would know they were still entitled to vote.

Under Gonzales's order, voters without photo ID can sign an affidavit certifying they are US citizens and present proof of residence, such as a utility bill, bank statement, or paycheck in place of the photo ID. Texas must provide these affidavits in English, Spanish, Chinese, and Vietnamese.

Texas officials said they were complying with the judge's order, but the DOJ charged that they were issuing false information.

According to the DOJ, Texas recast the language in Gonzales's order by omitting the word 'reasonably' and telling people that they can vote without picture ID only if they 'cannot obtain' such identification.

'That standard is incorrect and far harsher than the Court-ordered standard it would displace,' DOJ argues. 'By recasting the Court's language, Texas has narrowed dramatically the scope of voters protected by the Court's Order.'

Texas refuses to change the language, the DOJ filing states, and therefore is depriving potential voters of their legal right to vote.

Marc Rylander, a spokesman for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, said his office is 'currently reviewing the DOJ's motion and will file a response by Friday [September 9].'

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