Justice

TX GOP Senate Candidates Unanimously Oppose Voting Rights Act

Tenther Senate Candidate Ted Cruz

Earlier this year, Texas Lt. Gov. and Senate candidate David Dewhurst (R) told ThinkProgress that he thinks that it is unconstitutional for the Department of Justice to enforce the Voting Rights Act by preventing Texas’ racially discriminatory Voter ID law from taking effect. At a forum featuring Dewhurst’s fellow GOP candidates last night, the Republicans would-be senators lined up to join Dewhurst’s opposition to this landmark law

It’s time to do away with the nearly 50-year-old federal rule that let U.S. officials block a new state law requiring Texans to show photo ID to vote.

That’s what Republicans candidates running to replace Kay Bailey Hutchison in the U.S. Senate said during a forum Thursday night.

They called for repeal of the Voting Rights Act provision that requires Texas and other Southern states with histories of discrimination to receive pre-clearance when changing election laws.

“Right now, Texas is subjected to different standards than much of the country,” former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz said during the forum, hosted by the Dallas Bar Association. “I think we need to be fighting to ensure the law is colorblind and fair to everyone.”

It’s a strange definition of “fair to everyone” that says we should allow laws that enable a state to systematically disenfranchise minority voters. DOJ recently blocked Texas’ illegal Voter ID law because, like all Voter ID laws, it disproportionately disenfranchises minority voters. As DOJ determined, “a Hispanic registered voter is at least 46.5 percent, and potentially 120.0 percent, more likely than a non-Hispanic registered voter to lack” the identification required to vote under Texas’ law.

The GOP candidates’ lockstep opposition to voting rights comes at the same time that the state’s Republican leadership argued that the Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional in a federal court in DC. Significantly, the Voting Rights Act was last reauthorized in 2006, after it passed the House 390-33 and the Senate 98-0 and was signed into law by President George W. Bush.