The dustup over the Texas voter ID law got me thinking when I was at the checkout at the grocery store buying one of my favorite microbrews. Eric Holder said that 8 percent of voting age white citizens and 25 percent of voting age black citizens lacked a government-issued ID. So does that mean that 25 percent of adult blacks do not drink, do not drive, have not applied for a job, did not get a marriage license, never traveled abroad, don’t buy over the counter medicine, don’t go to the doctor, don’t rent a hotel room, bought a home, have a bank account, used a credit card, sent a FedEX package, applied for social security, camped in a state or national park, flown on an airplane, taken an Amtrak train, applied for section 8 housing, tried to visit Eric Holder at DOJ, entered any government building, attended Michele Obama’s book signing, tried to purchase industrial strength cleaners in Illinois, smoke cigarettes or redeemed a lottery ticket? There are probably more cases than these that require a picture ID but someone needs to do a study of these folks (that’s the academic in me speaking). As to Texas, while DOJ has not contested similar laws in Georgia and South Carolina and cannot contest a law on the Minnesota ballot if approved (it can only contest laws in states covered by the Voters Rights Act of 1964), Texas of all states really needs such a law. Remember, this is the state whose most famous politician – Lyndon Johnson – was first elected by 200 disputed votes. It is a state where its attorney general has cited numerous instances of voter fraud including over 19,000 missing voter ID cards in Corpus Christi alone, where at least 200 dead people are known to have voted in 2010, where six Texas House of Representatives races have been decided by a margin of fewer than 50 votes in the last decade. Texas courts have overturned at least four different elections in recent years after finding that improper conduct affected the outcome of the election. In 2012, alone, five local elections in Texas reportedly resulted in a tie and were ultimately resolved by a coin toss or a second runoff election. Also a city council member registered ineligible foreign nationals to vote, a man voted twice on Election Day, a man used his deceased father's voter registration card to vote in an election, an election worker pleaded guilty for attempting to vote twice and a person used another voter's registration card. Of course the wag might say that Holder is just reflecting the wishes of the president who comes from a city where voting fraud is a cherished tradition. Chicago is famous for voting dead people, for registering dogs and cats and fictitious persons. It is the place where “vote early and vote often” was coined. Remember the 1960 election where the Kennedy/Johnson ticket won Illinois by 8,000 votes out of 4.75 million cast? The democrats’ margin of victory came from Chicago where Cook County’s margin was an astounding 450,000. Evidence of voter fraud was abundant and reported by the press. Even in Lyndon Johnson’s Texas there were cases of fraud. In several counties where the democrats received more votes than there were registered voters. So on general principle, Texas’ voter ID law should be upheld because it apparently needs it more than most states.
Harold A. Black is professor emeritus in the Department of Finance, University of Tennessee, Knoxville having retired after 24 years of service. He has served on the faculties of American University, Howard University, the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and the University of Florida. His government service includes the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and as a Board Member of the National Credit Union Administration. He also has served on the boards of directors Home Savings of America and its parent company, H. F. Ahmanson & Co., Irwindale, California prior to its merger with Washington Mutual Savings Bank, on the board of New Century Financial Corporation, Irvine, California, then the nation’s largest real estate investment trust and as director and later chairman of the Nashville Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. He writes an occasional article for the Knoxville News-Sentinel at http://www.knoxnews.com/staff/dr-harold-black/. His web page is haroldablackphd.com