Thursday, July 25, 2013

Cruz Takes Voter ID National

Voter ID laws have hit the national stage with Ted Cruz's S. 1336.

Senate Bill S. 1336 amends the 1993 "Motor Voter" act to allow states to require identification in order to register to vote. The bill has 9 additional co-sponsors joining Senator Ted Cruz. The bill has been read twice and is already on the Senate Calender for hearings, debate, and voting. The pleasantly short bill can be read in its entirety at this link. It is also available at this link.

   To amend the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 to permit States to require proof of citizenship for registration to vote in elections for Federal office.
   Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
   Section 6 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (42 U.S.C. 1973gg-4) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
       `(e) Proof of Citizenship- Nothing in subsection (a) shall be construed to preempt any State law requiring evidence of citizenship in order to complete any requirement to register to vote in elections for Federal office.'.

 The Advent of Cruz's Voter ID Bill

Several states have enacted or attempted to enact Voter-ID and other voter integrity laws over the past several years. Federal coourts have struck some of these down in their entirety. Others have had clauses or sections struck down through federal preemption cases.

For example, Arizona's voter-ID law required proof of citizenship be verified through documentation presented at the time of registration. Federal courts upheld that Arizona could enforce such a requirement on their state-level registration forms. However, federal laws and policies preempted (took higher precedence) any such requirements on the federal registration forms. The Voter Registration Act of 1993 allows for voters to register when applying for a state driver's license or state photo identification card. That registration was deemed to be a federal registration, on a federal form. Therefore, the registration requires only an individual affidavit under a possible charge of perjury if caught.

With the US Supreme Court lifting the requirement for states to have to gain federal permission before altering their US Constitutionally protected voter registration policies. That portion of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 has since been stricken. This has led many states, such as Texas, to seek to improve their voter integrity laws and reform their election laws to make them more honest and fair.

Several states, including Texas and Arizona, have felt as though the current administration has intentionally fought any form of reform that increased the integrity of the electoral process, to include voter ID laws. Governor Rick Perry of Texas issued this statement regarding the Obama Administration's policies towards voter ID and voter integrity legislation:

"Once again, the Obama Administration is demonstrating utter contempt for our country's system of checks and balances, not to mention the U.S. Constitution. This end-run around the Supreme Court undermines the will of the people of Texas, and casts unfair aspersions on our state's common-sense efforts to preserve the integrity of our elections process."

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas filed the new legislation in hopes of removing the federal preemption and restore some sovereignty to the individual states that wish to better insure law-abiding, living citizens can vote (once per election). Furthermore, to protect their votes, this bill would allow states to pass legislation to keep the deceased, felons, and non-citizens from illegally voting and perverting the electoral process.