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Happy New Year From Texas Election Law Blog

Here are a few short notes regarding what’s going on in Texas Election Law right now:

The Austin-American Statesman reported a few days ago that at a meeting of the Texas Election Administrators Association, the state director of elections promised legislative or administrative fixes to the requirement to include former voter names on the voter registration certificates. The announcement is a welcome one, and is a hopeful sign of a common-sense fix to a confusing and weirdly communicated change in the way that voter registration certificates were prepared. On a related note (also from a recent Statesman article), problems with voter I.D. have motivated the Travis County voter registrar to mail warnings to 37,000 voters who may not have sufficient I.D. to vote under the current laws.

As I mentioned previously, I was asked to testify in a recent criminal case involving illegal voting. The defendant was found guilty (and judging by a comment left by someone identified as “Juror2013,” the defendant wisely chose to have a different finder of fact impose the sentence). I will do a longer post with my impressions of the case, but the executive summary is this: my testimony was no help to the defendant or anybody else, criminal law is a fascinating demimonde that I thankfully don’t practice in, and there is little room in a criminal trial for moral idealism or philosophical debate.

As always, the Texas Redistricting Blog has excellent updates on the status of the voter I.D. lawsuits here.
The state’s briefing seems pretty weak, stretching to argue that the Texas photo I.D. laws aren’t as “mean” or punitive as the ones enacted in other states. Um. Yeah. Is that really the hill that the state’s attorneys are willing to die on?

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