In a new book that's been making the rounds this week, federal appeals court judge Richard Posner expresses regret for writing a 2007 opinion upholding Indiana's tough voter ID statute, which he now describes as "a type of law now widely regarded as a means of voter suppression rather than of fraud prevention."
Expect no such hand-wringing from Texas Republicans, for whom this remains a bread-and-butter issue, and expect no letup in the quixotic but high-profile crusade to stop fraud at the ballot box from the state's next attorney general. All three Republican candidates have repeatedly gone on record defending Texas' voter ID law as important and necessary and blasting the Obama administration for attempting to stop it.
But it's Dallas' Dan Branch, whose focus on business and higher ed during his time in the Texas House would seem to make him the most moderate of the three, who has upped the ante. Yesterday, he announced plans to create a Voter Fraud Task Force as soon as he takes office that will:
1. closely monitor the activities of groups that would seek to subvert ballot integrity
2. appoint a Special Counsel devoted to exposing and prosecuting any instance of voter fraud, and
3. aggressively defend the landmark Texas voter ID law from the Obama Administration's spurious attempt to invalidate it.
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There's nothing inherently wrong with seeking to protect the integrity of elections. It's just that there is far more evidence that measures like voter ID laws have a discriminatory effect than there is showing that in-person voter fraud is a problem.