Tags: obama | voting | laws | texas

AG Abbott: Obama Playing Politics With Texas Voting Laws

Tuesday, 30 Jul 2013 12:30 PM

By Melanie Batley

President Barack Obama's involvement in Texas' redistricting and voter-ID litigation is not intended to help minorities, as the administration claims, it's just a veiled attempt to boost the Democratic party's influence in the state, according to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.

Writing in The Washington Times, the Republican says the president has aligned himself with Democratic state representatives and members of Congress who are suing Texas over redistricting. They claim the suit is about protecting minority voting rights but in reality, Abbott contends, it's a partisan agenda to ensure district lines benefit the Democrats in 2014.

"The president's partisan use of the Voting Rights Act actually hurts many minority voters in Texas. With the administration's support, redistricting litigation already has unseated Texas state Reps. Jose Aliseda, Raul Torres, Aaron Pena and John Garza, as well as Rep. Quico Canseco. These representatives — all Republicans — won in 2010 in predominantly Hispanic districts," Abbott writes. But due to the redistricting in 2011, all of them lost their seats.

Abbott contends the administration's action proves that Democrats are fearful that Republicans are making inroads with Hispanic voters, a strategic obstacle to the Democratic Party achieving political dominance in the state through its "Turn Texas Blue" campaign.

While the idea of mandatory voter ID has drawn popularity, and has been upheld by the Supreme Court, the Obama administration continues to argue that similar laws in Texas would suppress the minority vote.

The administration has justified its interference as part of its responsibility to uphold the Voting Rights Act, Abbott notes. But he calls it a violation of the Constitution, which he insists makes elections the domain of the state. He also notes a recent legal decision frees states from having to clear their voting laws with the Justice Department.

"The president is using the legal system as a sword to wage partisan battles rather than a shield to protect voting rights. This overreaching action undermines the Voting Rights Act and the rule of law. Texas will not tolerate it, neither will the Supreme Court," Abbott concludes.

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