Texas Voter Participation Skyrockets Under New ID Law

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Opponents of voter identification laws reliably say it’s racist, exclusive and oppressive to require registered voters to show photo identification when they exercise their right to vote. Voter ID, the story goes, denies some people their Constitutional rights by locking out eligible citizens who, for whatever reason, don’t possess qualifying ID.

But a recent amendment ballot in Texas could be an early indication that those kinds of fears are unfounded. Texas voters went to the polls on Nov. 5 to approve nine amendments to the State constitution (all nine measures passed), and voter turnout — even among Hispanics — trounced that of a similar series of measures that came before voters in 2011.

According to The Daily Caller, turnout in predominantly Hispanic Hidalgo County was roughly four times the turnout in the 2011 ballot measure, even though the Nov. 5 election marked the State’s first referendum in which a new voter ID law was enforced.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who’s widely believed to have the inside track in the 2014 Governor’s race, said last week’s turnout and relatively problem-free polling should silence progressives who’ve facetiously decried voter ID laws as a return to Jim Crow-era voter segregation.

“I haven’t ever seen anything that was overhyped as much as some partisan efforts to overhype concerns about this, when in reality, there has been no problems whatsoever,” Abbott told the Houston Chronicle.

Abbott, who himself had to sign an affidavit confirming his identity at the polls, said there was nothing onerous or disenfranchising about the process.

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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