Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has been doing battle in the courts over voting districts and voter ID laws for years, and is showing no signs of surrendering. The court cases have been started by various organizations, but he is contending that they all have a single agenda – push the agenda of Democrats that have made no secret of their desire to turn the red state of Texas blue.
The current battles center on minority representation, and accusations of Republicans gerrymandering districts to dilute minority voting blocs. The courts have set up interim maps until the situation can be researched more next year. Abbott contends that in reality, the Democrats are seeking to disenfranchise conservative Hispanics.
“It is racial discrimination against Hispanic Republicans because there were at least four or five Hispanic Republicans that were tossed from office because of the way they drew the lines in order to help Democrats,” Abbott said of the interim maps.
The courts restored some South Texas districts that had been held briefly by Hispanic Republicans. In the 2012 election, voters replaced them with Hispanic Democrats.
“The Republicans showed they are embracing Hispanic candidates by electing so many of them. It was fear by the Democrats of losing ground to the Republicans in the Hispanic community that made them fight so hard to change those maps,” Abbott said.
In addition to the redistricting issues, Abbott is prepared to battle U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s attempts to force Texas to still answer to the Federal Government over any changes to their voting laws. The Supreme Court ruled that it is no longer necessary for states to get Federal clearance to change voting procedure laws, striking down that portion of the Voter Rights Act. Holder, seeking to make an end run around that ruling, has been requesting that courts force the issue back to Federal jurisdiction, through litigation – essentially making a call for judges to legislate from the bench.
These actions by Holder continue to ignore polls that indicate support for Voter ID laws among minorities. It has been the contention of Republicans that claiming minorities would somehow be disenfranchised if they had to acquire photo ID in order to vote is racist. It appears the minorities Democrats claim they are trying to protect agree with Republicans. A McClatchy-Marist poll shows virtually equal support for Voter ID between whites and non-whites – both slightly over 80%, while those opposed are 15% or less in a national poll of voting adults.
As for what the future holds for Texas, it will be worth watching Abbott manage the court battles, while running for Governor.