CONGRESSWOMAN JACKSON LEE DISCUSSES TEXAS VOTER PURGE
Jun 7, 2012 -
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee released the following statement about the Texas voter purge:
“I am deeply concerned about the systemic and possibly illegal voter purge happening in Texas right now. This comes on the heels of restrictive voter photo identification legislation pending or already signed into law in Texas. In my opinion, these actions by the Texas Secretary of State’s Office have only one purpose: to disenfranchise certain voters. I am requesting immediate action because of the broad implications that the voter purging has on ongoing and future state, local, and federal elections.
“According to a recent article in the Houston Chronicle, more than 300,000 valid voters were notified that they could be removed from the Texas voter rolls from November 2008 to November 2010. This overt purging is done under the guise of reducing voter fraud and updating voter registration rolls. The article noted that more than 1.5 million Texas voters could have their registrations cancelled.
“As with legislation introduced in various states around the country the true purpose of the purging is the disenfranchisement of eligible voters especially the elderly, young voters, students, minorities, and low-income voters. Approximately 2 percent of voting-age citizens in the country-or more than 20 million individuals- lack government-issued photo identification.
“The Voting Rights Act vests significant authority in the Department of Justice to ensure laws are not implemented in a discriminatory manner. Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act requires preclearance by the Department when there is an attempt to change any voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure with respect to voting in covered jurisdictions.
“In Section 5 jurisdictions, such as Texas, whenever photo identification legislation is considered, the Department should closely monitor the administrative and legislative process to track any unlawful intent evinced by the proceedings, which I believe is occurring in my state.
“Restrictive voter photo identification legislation, and the subsequent purging of voter rolls has the potential to block millions of eligible American voters in Texas and other states, and thus suppress the right to vote.
“I have written to Attorney General Holder to urge him to protect the voting rights of Americans by using the full power of the Department of Justice to review the voter purging in Texas and scrutinize the broader implications and implementation. I have also requested that the Attorney General brief me on the efforts the Department is undertaking to ensure these actions are implemented in accordance with Texas state law, the United States Constitution, and the Voting Rights Act. I implore Attorney General Holder to help stop these injustices which face voters in my district and in all of Texas.”