Texas voting rights abuses challenged by Justice Department: National battle escalates

This pattern of attacking voting rights in violation of the Voting Rights Act, even as it stands after the party-line vote of Supreme Court Republican justices, is only escalating in Texas and a list of other states.

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The Voting Rights Act has historically been supported by members of the House and Senate, and presidents from both parties. The latest brand of Republicans — in Texas and nationally — wants power at costs, even at the cost of the rule of law. Countless groups representing the civil rights community, Hispanics, blacks, labor, and women are all supporting the Voting Rights Act.

As Nan Aron, president of the Alliance for Justice, said at a voting rights rally: "Bring us justice!"

The Justice Department is right. Texas under Republicans is a leading abuser of voting rights. They have engaged in scandalous gerrymandering and abusive voter-ID laws. My former boss Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) once said that one of his proudest votes was to end the poll tax.

Now Republicans in Texas and many other states are bringing back the equivalent of the poll tax in new forms. By the time this battle is concluded, even without Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, preclearance will return for those jurisdictions — including Texas — that repeatedly infringe on voting rights. Let the rule of law decide. 

I applaud those Republicans, such as Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), who support bringing back full justice for full voting rights. The battle in Congress will continue and even the current Supreme Court will ultimately rule against the practices that the Justice Department challenges again. 

It is astounding that even today the GOP finds new ways of demeaning and insulting Hispanics and blacks and all who seek a fair right to vote. They will lose this battle, and the Texas case will be repeated in other jurisdictions, wherever they may be.

In the meantime, this is a clarion call for Democrats in Texas and throughout America to begin the largest voter registration campaign — from Texas to Ohio, Florida to Georgia, the Atlantic to the Pacific — to prevent any election from ever being stolen again by those who seek to destroy the right to vote.