Sen. Cornyn: Shame on Holder for comparing voter ID law to poll taxes

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"Yesterday, Attorney General Holder spoke in Houston, Texas, at a gathering of the NAACP, and I'm sorry to say that his remarks were completely inappropriate and misleading," Cornyn said in a floor speech on Wednesday. "Mr. Holder knows, or he should know, that the Texas law that requires a photo ID in order to cast a ballot will be issued free of charge — free of charge — to any voter that asks for one. Free of charge."

On Tuesday Holder expressed strong opposition to a Texas voter ID law in a speech at an annual convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Two days earlier a three-judge panel began hearing a Justice Department challenge to the law.

"We will simply not allow this era to be the beginning of the reversal of that historic progress. I will not allow that to happen," Holder said in the speech, according to the Houston Chronicle.

The attorney general said the new Texas law would make it harder for some to get the proper documents to vote. He compared the law to "poll taxes."

"Under the proposed law, concealed handgun licenses would be acceptable forms of photo ID, but student IDs would not," Holder added. "Many of those without IDs would have to travel great distances to get them, and some would struggle to pay for the documents they might need to obtain them. We call those poll taxes."

Cornyn called Holder's comments "irresponsible."

"And this is really the low point of the attorney general's remarks — he once again defamed my state and our state legislature by equating our commonsense voter ID law with a poll tax," Cornyn said. "By invoking the specter of Jim Crow racism, the attorney general is playing the lowest form of identity politics. Mr. Holder knows better. This rhetoric is irresponsible and a disgrace to the office of the attorney general. Shame on him."