The Obama administration has once more gone too far in its "overreach," Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Monday, after the Justice Department objected to the state's new voter photo ID law, saying Texas failed to demonstrate that the law is not discriminatory by design against Hispanic voters. "Texas has a responsibility to ensure elections are fair, beyond reproach and accurately reflect the will of voters. The DOJ has no valid reason for rejecting this important law, which requires nothing more extensive than the type of photo identification necessary to receive a library card or board an airplane. Their denial is yet another example of the Obama administration's continuing and pervasive federal overreach," Perry said.
On Monday, the Justice Dpartment's head of the civil rights division, Tom Perez, sent a a six-page letter to Texas' director of elections saying that Texas has not "sustained its burden" under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act to show that the new law will not have a discriminatory effect on minority voters. About 11 percent of Hispanic voters reportedly lack state-issued identification. Perez wrote that while the state says the new photo ID requirement is to "ensure electoral integrity and deter ineligible voters from voting" the state "did not include evidence of significant in-person voter impersonation not already addressed by the state's existing laws.
Texas' Secretary of State says the basis for the DOJ's claim of discrimination is flawed and relies on the pairing of disparate statistical sets:
The two data sets, compiled in September 2011 and January 2012 were not an apples-to-apples comparison, said Texas' secretary of state, who noted the department was warned that the two data sets it used to lodge its objection were inconsistent. "The data they demanded came from matching two separate data sets never designed to be matched, and their agency was warned that matches from these data sets would be misleading," Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade said in a statement. Andrade said that as a result of the objection, which she called "extremely disappointing," existing law will apply in the May 29 primary election.