The 5th Circuit Court must uphold Voter ID

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I strongly encourage all Justices of the United States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit to uphold SB 14, better known as Texas' Voter ID law. Voter ID is critical to maintaining the integrity of the ballot box and ensuring fair and honest elections. Despite the outlandish accusations by liberals, there is absolutely nothing discriminatory about Voter ID, and its intended purpose is and always has been to prevent fraud in the election process. Repealing SB 14 would open up a plethora of avenues for voter fraud to remain rampant in our state, which is completely unacceptable.

As is often the case, the Democrats like to claim that voter fraud isn’t a real problem, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Gilberto Hinojosa, the Chairman of the Texas Democratic Party, recently represented Lupe Rivera Sr., who has been charged with 16 counts of voter fraud in the Rio Grande Valley. Think about that for a second, the head of the Texas Democratic Party actively defended a man in court for years who was charged with stealing an election. Former Democratic state Rep. Inocente “Chente” Quintanilla and Democratic Justice of the Peace Enedina “Nina” Serna are both being investigated by the Texas Attorney General’s Office for alleged voter fraud. While they're all innocent until proven guilty, it's still ironic that the Texas Democrats would cry foul over voter ID while also consistently being accused of voter fraud.

But the problem goes much deeper than the reported number of issues. For example, look at the use of a college ID as an acceptable form of identification. If you were a student attending any of our public universities who came to Texas from another state, you are likely to retain your photo ID from your state of origin. This is important because if you live in Texas as a student and have a college ID but also have a photo ID from, say, California, you could then vote twice; once in person in Texas and once by mail in California. This is one of many issues with the liberal arguments against our Voter ID law.

To claim that the intent of Voter ID is discriminatory or is a poll tax is outrageous. There is no cost associated with obtaining an Election Identification Certificate, which is found to be an acceptable form of identification under the standards of SB 14. To acquire the certificate, your fee to obtain a birth certificate would be waived, meaning there is literally no fee or charge to obtain the minimal requirements for Voter ID. Some folks also seem to have forgotten that you can vote by mail instead and forgo this entire process.

This law has been politicized by the Democrats, not because they truly believe that Voter ID disenfranchises voters but rather because they like to use dirty tactics to obtain votes and would like nothing more than to destroy the integrity of the ballot box. The State Legislature has said from day one that this law’s intended purpose is to uphold the integrity of elections in Texas, and I truly hope that the 5th Circuit agrees.

Tom Mechler

Chairman, Republican Party of Texas

@tommechler

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