Del Mar College Constitution Day Lecture
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Del Mar College Constitution Day Lecture

October 14, 2019

– This is Constitution Day. And welcome. Why are we here? Well, what is Constitution Day? Pretty obvious question. But it commemorates the formation and signing of the United
States Constitution by the Founding Fathers
this very day in 1787. And it also is aimed at
recognizing those people who are born in the United States and like myself by naturalization who have become citizens. So everyone by themselves
celebrate being a citizen. I’m a two-year citizen. So this is almost to the day that I’ve been two years down the road of being a U.S. citizen. Why are we having the event? Well, we can thank the
late Senator Robert Byrd from West Virginia
because he sponsored a law in 2004 designating today
as Constitution Day. And it is a legal requirement for schools and federal agencies to
hold an education program on Constitution Day relating
to the Constitution. And that’s what we’ve got today. We’re very fortunate and privileged to have here Dr. Anthony Champagne, who’s our speaker from the
University of Texas at Dallas. He will give you a short summary of his educational
attainments and achievements. He’s taught at the University
of Texas at Dallas since 1979. He’s won their Regents Teaching Award. He’s the author, all
those students of mine who are here today and other students, the Texas Government Textbook. (audience laughing and clapping) I’m not sure whether
he’ll do a book signing. (audience laughing) I’m sure he’d be happy to oblige. And he is the best selling textbook on the Texas politics here in this, here in Texas, so that’s great. He’s also written a book called, former house speaker Sam Rayburn, we were talking about
that at dinner last night, the longest serving speaker of the House of Representatives from
the state of Texas. And he’s edited and co-edited nine books and authored over 80 articles in various journals and law reviews. He’s also been a Supreme
Court judicial fellow. So he’s very impressive. Received the Justice Tom C. Clark Award. And he’s done oral histories for the Sam Raven Library and
interviewed over 130 persons in Texas and Washington. We were just discussing
last night how he became a college friend of former house speaker Jim Ryan from Texas. So again, very important Texas connections with United States Congress. He’s speaking today on
the very important topic of voting rights and
the Constitution parts and policies, as you can see. He’s gonna be discussing the
Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Constitution. And he’ll finish looking
at a Corpus Christi case. The judge who actually swore me in as a U.S. citizen is the
center of a very important case relating to Texas’s voter ID law. So he’ll be talking about that case. And he’ll speak for about 50 minutes. And then we’ll have about
20, 30 minutes for questions. And hopefully we’ll
have a lively discussion about voting rights. But without any further ado, I present Dr. Anthony champagne. – Thank you.
(audience applauds) Thanks very much, appreciate it. Well, thanks very much. This is Constitution Day. And so, I would like to talk about voting and the Constitution and
how partisan politics are just tied up in this current debate over voting procedures
in states like Texas. By far, the most important law ever passed involving voting rights is
the 1965 Voting Rights Act. It’s been amended some, but it is the key voting
law in the United States. And from a Constitutional perspective, it was passed under the
affirmative authority of the 15th Amendment. The 15th Amendment you’ll
see was ratified in 1870. It’s one of the so-called
Civil War Amendments. The 13th and 14th and 15th Amendments are ratified in the
aftermath of the Civil War. But it provides the
Constitutional authority for the passage of the
1965 Voting Rights Act. Congress cannot pass any law without what’s called affirmative authority, a power in the Constitution that allows the law to be passed. And the 15th amendment is that power for the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Interestingly, nothing much happens. The 15th Amendment is ratified in 1870. Nothing much happens regarding
protecting voting rights until 1965. It’s quite remarkable. You go through almost 100 years where the rights of people to vote are basically ignored. And let me just give you a one example of how people’s rights were ignored. Prior to the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the state of Mississippi, and I just picked Mississippi. But I could have picked
almost any southern state. Mississippi had something
called the literacy test. That is, in order to vote, you had to pass a test
showing you were literate. And that meant you had
to interpret a provision of the Mississippi Constitution that was given to you by a
Mississippi voting registrar who then decided whether
or not based on your interpretation of the
Mississippi Constitution whether or not you were literate. If you were white, it was common for white voters to interpret this provision of
the Mississippi Constitution. All elections by the people shall be by ballot. If you were white, you could write yes, or I agree, and you’d
be registered to vote. That showed you were literate. If you were black, you would be asked to
interpret this provision of the Mississippi Constitution. I won’t read through the entire thing, but it deals with the
power to tax corporations in the state of Mississippi. Only a highly skilled corporate lawyer would be capable of
interpreting that provision of the Mississippi Constitution. And what that meant, of course, was that black people
couldn’t register to vote in the state of Mississippi. And this was going on
throughout primarily the south. Not totally the south, but primarily the southern states. The southern states were
basically doing all sorts of things to discriminate regarding voting for African Americans. And that discrimination,
of course, in those days benefited the interests of
white segregationist Democrats. One thing, though, that began to happen in the early 1960s, particularly 1964, is the civil rights movement in the south really got started. And one of the big areas of focus was to register African
American voters in the south. So African Americans would
line up at the courthouse and try to register to vote. Often, the voting
register would go fishing or would close the office or would call the sheriff, do anything possible to keep from registering African American voters. But this was a very significant
voter registration effort in the south, particularly in 1964. And then in 1965, how many of you saw the movie Selma? Great movie. Except historically inaccurate. One thing you need to
keep in mind about Selma is in Selma, Lyndon Johnson
is treated as an antagonist. He’s treated as someone who really doesn’t want to promote the Voting Rights Act. And Martin Luther King forces him to push for the Voting Rights Act. That’s absolutely false. Lyndon Johnson wanted
the Voting Rights Act and pushed for the Voting Rights Act. But with the exception of that
huge historical inaccuracy, Selma is really a superb movie. This is of course a picture of the police beating demonstrators near
the Edmond Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. The police there acted so violently and so ruthlessly that
it seemed to mobilize the non-southern part of the country in favor of the Voting Rights Act. And the law was signed of
course by Lyndon Johnson. Here is Lyndon Johnson. He’s just signed the Voting Rights Act. And you may see he is handing a pen that he used to sign
the Voting Rights Act, he’s handing that pen
to Martin Luther King. The law has an immediate impact. This is probably a law that had the greatest instant impact of any law ever passed by Congress. And I think this can just give you a quick and really good idea of
the impact of the law. In 1960, for example, in Alabama, only 66,000 African
Americans registered to vote. 1966, right after the Voting Rights Act, 250,000 registered to vote. It’s just incredible. South Carolina, 58,000 registered to vote before the Voting Rights Act. After the Voting Rights Act, 191,000 registered to vote. So there are huge increases
in African American voters in the southern states
as an immediate result of the Voting Rights Act. And even though there have
been amendments to this law, it basically continued in effect as it was in 1965. One of the most important
aspects of the law after this immediate impact of the law, one of the most important
aspects of the law was Section 5 of the act. Section 5 of the act is
called pre-clearance. That is, if there’s any change in a state’s voting procedure, if a state is covered
under Section 5 of the act, that state has to get approval
of its voting procedure by either the Department of
Justice in Washington, D.C. Or by a federal court in Washington, D.C. And that’s pre-clearance. So you’re changing some aspect of your voting procedures in your state, you’ve got to, before you
change those voting procedures, you’ve got to basically
get approval of that change from the Department of Justice, where the Department of Justice says, okay, this change will
not have a negative impact on minorities. That’s basically the
idea of pre-clearance. And that’s Section 5 of
the Voting Rights Act. Section 4 of the Voting
Rights Act provides a formula that is used to determine if your state, or part of a state is
covered by pre-clearance under Section 5. So what we have here are the states, and in some cases counties, that were covered by the
pre-clearance requirement. They met the standards of
the formula in Section 4. And you have to have
pre-clearance under Section 5. The light color is Texas,
Alaska, and Arizona. They were not initially
part of pre-clearance. They were added to
pre-clearance as a result of an amendment. The counties that you see that
are sort of gold or yellow at one time had to have pre-clearance because they were found
to have discriminated. But they were able to
opt out of pre-clearance. They were able to show that
they had not discriminated over a 10 year period. Interestingly, if you look
at voting rights suits, the states that are
subject to pre-clearance, with a few exceptions admittedly, but the states that are
subject to pre-clearance are also the states that have lost the most voting rights suits. So it would seem that pre-clearance is really working. It’s working on those
states that are having the biggest problems
regarding voting rights. But something happens in 2008. The court decided a case from Indiana that really heralded a new
era in voting procedures. Indiana was not a state that
was subject to pre-clearance. So it was not a state that had this history of discrimination against voting by minorities. But Republicans in Indiana
passed a voter ID law over the opposition of Democrats. And Republicans said they
wanted a voter ID law to stop voter fraud. The problem was there
was not a single case of voter fraud in the
entire state of Indiana. There hadn’t been a prosecution for voter fraud in Indiana in years. But Republicans said,
well, that might be because the people committing
the fraud were so good at the fraud that you couldn’t catch them. And so, you needed a
voter ID to catch them. Democrats said this is a way to express voting by minorities who tend to vote Democratic. Anyway, the Supreme Court
in a six to three decision, the Supreme Court agreed
with the Republicans that even though this appeared to be very partisan reasons for the law, it was reasonable and Constitutional for the Republicans to pass a law to prevent what appeared to
be non-existent voter fraud. So of course what the court’s doing here is it’s sending a message
that some restrictions on the battle are going to be allowed. This is in 2008. Five years later, Shelby County, Alabama, versus Holder. This, folks is the blockbuster
voting rights case. This is the central, the
crucial voting rights case. What the court basically said, you notice it’s a five to
four decision, by the way. What the court basically said
is that federal regulations of elections were exceptional and required a significant justification to interfere with state
control over elections because running elections
was a state power under the 10th Amendment. You’ve probably talked
about the 10th Amendment in your classes. You’ve probably heard it referred to as the States’ Rights Amendment. The court was saying federal
control over elections is really interfering
with the right to states. There has to be a
compelling, a powerful reason before the federal government
can control state elections. And the court said there was
no significant justification to interfere with state
powers over elections when the formula in section four of the 1965 Voting
Rights Act that was used to determine what states had to preclear when the formula was outdated. The formula was based on
discriminatory actions by states 40 years ago. And so, the court said
that formula is outdated. There is therefore no compelling reason for the federal government to interfere with the power of states to run elections on their own. Now, of course, Congress could pass a more modern formula. Congress could come back, pass a new formula under Section 4 that allowed for
pre-clearance under Section 5. But Republicans in Congress
are opposed to that. They’re opposed to passing a new formula. This particular cartoon says that those five justices gutted the Voting Rights Act. Well, that’s not quite true. They pretty well damaged
the Voting Rights Act. They didn’t totally gut it. But they definitely damaged the act because now you have no pre-clearance if states change their voting procedures. They don’t have to get approval from the federal government to change their voting procedures. This, I love this cartoon. You’ve got Chief Justice Roberts unlocking the cell that was holding in voter discrimination. And voter discrimination
is saying free at last, free at least, thank the
Supreme Court almighty, I am free at last. So where there’s no pre-clearance, and pre-clearance had
blocked 3,000 voting changes in the past, where there is no pre-clearance, states can do what they want. And immediately after this decision, states that are covered, that
were covered, I should say, by pre-clearance start imposing changes in their voting procedures. Texas being one, one of the things Texas did was voter ID. So you might ask, what difference does it make? So what. So what if you have to show your picture when you vote. Small percentage reductions in the vote can make a huge difference. The most extreme of course was the 2,000 presidential election, where George W. Bush carried Florida, and therefore was able to
get the electoral voters from Florida to become
president of the United States. He carried Florida with 537 votes. Small number of votes can matter. There was a study done by
the general accounting office that found that voter ID laws in Kansas and Tennessee reduced turnout in those states by 2% to 3% in 2012. With the biggest drop
off being among young, black, and newly registered voters. In other words, the biggest drop off among Democratic voters. Now, Republicans in Texas say, yeah, but prior to voter ID, 5.37% of registered voters participated in the
Constitutional amendment election. After voter ID 8.55% participated. Voter ID had no effect in
Texas, Republicans say. The problem is the vote in
Constitutional amendment elections is also low
but is highly variable. So that argument by Republicans really just doesn’t make empirical sense. I think the most interesting
thing about the effect of voter ID is this study just done by Rice University and
the University of Houston, a joint study. It’s a study of the 23rd Congressional District election in 2014. Democrat Pete Gallego was defeated by Republican Will Hurd by 2,400 votes. This, by the way, is the only competitive Congressional district in Texas. And 2,000 votes separated the Democrats and the Republicans. It’s largely a Latino district. This study was based on
a survey of 400 voters. And in surveying the non-voters, less than 3% of the people who didn’t vote lacked proper ID. But 6% said the primary reason they did not vote was because they thought they didn’t have proper ID. And 13% said one of the
reasons they didn’t vote is because they thought
they didn’t have proper ID. Four to five times as
many of those non-voters would have voted for the Democrat compared to the Republican. So what that means is without voter ID, the Democrat instead of the Republican would have won the election. Voter ID makes a difference. It makes a difference in close elections. So, what do you do if you’re a Democrat in this kind of situation? Well, what happened was
a Democratic Congressman from the Dallas area named Mark Veasey decided there’s another part
of the Voting Rights Act. Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act that the Supreme Court
had not addressed yet. Section two of the Voting Rights Act allows private citizens
or the Justice Department to bring suit if they believe a procedure is used by a state that is racially discriminatory. It’s not as good a
provision as pre-clearance, ’cause you have to sue, you have to prove the case, you have to spend the money
and time to go to court. But you can sue. And Mark Veasey sued here in Corpus Christi. He sued in federal court under Section 2, and he won. Voter ID was held by the federal court to be racially discriminatory. So the state then appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and Mark Veasey still won on some claims, not all claims, but
still won on some claims. He won three weeks ago. This has literally just happened. And he won basically on the argument that voter ID has a discriminatory
impact on minorities. The federal court in Corpus Christi has now been instructed
by the Fifth Circuit to hold additional hearings
on some issues in this case and to come up with some way of remedying the discriminatory
impact of voter ID. It may possibly eliminate voter ID. But it does seem very, very possible there’ll be big change in terms of voting policies in Texas as a result of this Corpus Christi court. I hope that this will be coming up very, very soon, just in the next month or so. So I hope you’ll be able to go to court in Corpus Christi and watch this because this is major, major litigation. But in the meantime,
while everybody in Texas is focusing on voter ID and the end of pre-clearance, the Supreme Court this fall
is hearing another case from Texas that may be
even more important. And this is the case, Evenwel versus Abbott. Any of you familiar with this case? This is really big stuff. Sometime probably in November the Supreme Court will hear this case. And the issue in this case is, do legislators, particularly
Texas state senators, do they represent persons? Or do they represent eligible voters? Currently they represent persons. You draw a state Senate
district on the basis of the number of persons in
that state Senate district. What Evenwel wants to do is
to draw state Senate districts in Texas based on eligible voters rather than persons. The argument is that Texas has so many non-voters and non-citizens that when
Texas Senate districts are drawn on the basis of population, non-citizens are counted
for the districts, because non-citizens are persons. And since most of the
non-citizens are Latino, that means that Latino districts have smaller numbers of citizen voters and large numbers of
non-citizen non-voters. And the argument is
that gives Latino voters greater voting power in comparison to Anglo districts where there are few non-citizen non-voters. So the argument is that
Texas Senate districts should be drawn on the
basis of eligible voters in the district rather than
persons in the district. Let me give you just an idea of how this argument goes. One Senate district in Texas has 584,000 eligible voters. Another Senate district in Texas has 372,000 eligible voters. They have an equal population. But the number of eligible
voters is vastly different. And the argument is that 372,000 district is a Latino district, and
Latino voters in that district have more influence than the white voters that are in the 584,000
eligible voter district. So if that argument is successful, and it’s before the
Supreme Court right now, if that argument is successful, there will be fewer
Latino districts in Texas, there will be less Latino political power. And there will be more districts in Texas that are older, whiter, richer, and Republican. So it would have a huge
impact on Texas politics. And eventually would have a huge impact on other states with
large Latino populations. And it would mean weakening
Latino voting power and therefore Democratic power. So now do you see why the platform of the Texas Republican party is to repeal the 1965 Voting Rights Act? The Republican party
will benefit from repeal of the Voting Rights Act. The Republican party will
benefit if the Supreme Court decides in favor of Evenwel in Evenwel versus Abbott. So just keep in mind about
what we’re talking about when we’re talking about voting, when we’re talking
about Constitutional law regarding voting. We’re not just talking about law. We’re talking about partisan politics. When we’re talking about
voting and the law, we’re talking about the selection
of government officials. And what that means is we’re
talking about the distribution of political power in a state. Anytime people talk to you
about changes in voting, ask one key question about
any change in voting. Who benefits? ‘Cause somebody, some interest group, some party, some group of
people always benefits. And let me close for now,
and we can have questions or comments, or whatever, yes? – [Man] (mumbles) identifying the forms of ID that are acceptable? – One form of ID, let me identify one that’s not acceptable
because I think everyone in this room has that form of ID. Your student ID, not acceptable. Driver’s license, gun license, military ID, passport, there are two others. What are the other two? I can’t recall. Birth certificate. It’s gotta be a photo ID, though. Birth certificates’s not enough. Passport, there are a couple of others. – [Man] Gun ownership. – I’m sorry? – [Man] Gun ownership. – Gun ownership, yes. Yes, that is part of the ID. It’s very, very interesting
it seems to me that students with state-issued photo IDs at that their schools can’t
use that as a photo ID. I should share this with you, as was mentioned in the introduction, speaker Jim Wright and I
became pretty good friends over the past 15 years. He just died about a month ago at the age of 92. He was a Congressman from Forth Worth from 1954 to 1989. He was responsible for things
like interstate highways. A very, very major figure. He was majority leader of
the House of Representatives. He was speaker of the
House of Representatives. But when he went to vote at the age of 90, he hadn’t driven in a couple years because he was losing his eyesight. So his driver’s license was expired. And because he was 90, he hadn’t traveled in a while, so his passport was expired. So he took his expired driver’s license and he took his expired passport and tried to vote in the
Constitutional amendment election, and they said no, Mr.
Speaker, you cannot vote. You don’t have sufficient ID. This was a man who voted for
the 1965 Voting Rights Act and was one of the major sponsors of the 18-year-old vote, and he was not allowed to vote, because his voter ID didn’t apply. It had expired. – [Man] So I just wanted to point out an ironic situation in
that students can’t use their ID card to vote. But come January, if they have
a concealed weapons license, you can vote. – You can use that, yes. So I guess that means all of our students should get concealed weapons licenses here at the school so they’ll be able to vote. Yes? – [Woman] What would you do
about dual credit students who aren’t 18? – I’m sorry? – [Woman] What would you
do if that did get passed that students could use student IDs, what do you do about those students– – Oh, that’s not gonna happen. You don’t need to worry about that, because that’s not gonna happen, not with the current legislature. What is going to happen is basically the Corpus Christi court
is going to either strike down voter ID, or if it
doesn’t strike down voter ID, things are gonna stay
pretty much as they are. So that’s something you really
don’t need to worry about. Yes? – [Man] Sir, when that case
is brought back to Corpus, will it be heard by the same judge? – Yes, it will. And it’s already back in her court. – [Man] Okay. – So I think the hearings on this will probably be in the next few weeks. That’s why I would hope that some of you you would be able to go and attend this. You would be seeing major,
major law being made right here in Corpus Christi. Yes? – [Woman] Who’s the current
judge in the case here in court? – Remind me of her name,
the judge in Corpus. – [Man] (mumbles) Gonzalez
Ramos, it’s a Latino judge, struck down the voter ID law. – And interestingly, she is mostly– – [Man] (mumbles) courts by (mumbles). – –she is mostly upheld
by the Fifth Circuit, which is a very, very conservative
federal appellate court. Very Republican, very conservative federal appellate court. There was a hand up behind you. No? Oh, okay. – [Man] Is there anything being done about the gerrymandering of
the districts in the state? – Not really. I’m wanting to be a little cautious there. There will likely be more gerrymandering because you don’t have
pre-clearance, number one. Number two, Evenwel, if
the Supreme Court decides in favor of Evenwel, what it will do is eliminate minority,
or basically it will eliminate Latino districts, or a substantial number
of Latino districts. But gerrymandering has
become a huge, huge problem where there are just almost no competitive districts anymore. And the reason is because
you can so scientifically draw district lines so
that if she is a Republican and he is a Democrat, I’m going to know that, and I can draw a district line in the alley between their two houses. So your question is, is there anything that’s gonna
be done about gerrymandering? It’s probably gonna get worse. The odds are I think it’s gonna get worse as time goes on, and as there’s no pre-clearance. – [Woman] Is it fair to
say if Hispanics lose their influence in districts and politics that they’re gonna start losing fundings like in public schools
and things like that? – Oh, yeah. Yeah, government resources
generally are not given out to politically powerless groups. The way you get government resources is by having sufficient political power to demand those resources. So, yeah, this is a tremendous weakening of Hispanic political power. Yeah, this has huge
potential, huge potential. – [Man] You said the state of Indiana didn’t have a problem with voter fraud. Is there a state that does? – Actually, in modern times, there is no sufficient evidence of voter fraud in any state. Now, there are wonderful stories of voter fraud in Chicago. There are wonderful stories
of voter fraud in New Jersey. But in terms of arrests or
prosecution for voter fraud, really minimal throughout the country. But we want to make sure
there’s no voter fraud, and that’s why if you’re
a good Republican, you support voter ID. We want to make sure it
continues to be a situation where there’s no voter fraud. – [Man] I’ve got a question
about voter registration in Europe, it’s automatic. The government
automatically registers you. You is there a good reason
for that not to be the case in the United States? It would significantly
increase voter turnout were that to be implemented. No, I know no good reason for that. Some countries have mandatory voting. Argentina, for example,
my wife’s home country, has mandatory voting. You are required to vote. And of course we have
nothing like that here. But if we did have mandatory voting here, what would happen? What would be the political impact of mandatory voting here? – [Man] High Democrat turnout. – Yes, what you would have is Democrats would win more and more
and more elections. And I suspect you would
have something like that in terms of registration. But why do we not have that? Why do we not have something
like mandatory voting? Well, we don’t have it because
Republicans don’t want it. Who benefits? Always ask who benefits? – [Woman] Isn’t California,
I thought I just read last week California moving
to that, or something. – Yeah, I read something about it. I don’t think it’s mandatory voting. But I think it’s simplified registration. Every time you register,
I think it’s every time you register your automobile, I think that’s the way it works. Any other questions about voting or what’s going on in Texas? Keep in mind one thing
about voting in Texas that I find very, very interesting. When Senator Kay Bailey
Hutchison was a senator, she said the Republican
party needs to reach out to Hispanics because
Latino political power is the future of Texas. And that’s probably true. Latino political power probably is the future of Texas. But there’s another way that Republicans can gain power other than doing what Senator Hutchison wanted to do. And that is to suppress voting. And something like voter
ID suppresses voting by Latinos, by minorities in general. But certainly by Latinos. – [Woman] I kind of disagree
with that statement. I feel like you’re a responsible citizen, then you would go and make sure you have the proper documentation
you need to go vote. – And if you’re 90 years old, I guess you go and you
take your driver’s test and get a valid driver’s license even though you’re blind. It’s not always as easy as it seems. Or you take off work and lose a day’s pay so you can go and get a driver’s license. Or perish the thought, get a passport. Yes? – [Man] Even if one would be undocumented, could you not say that American Latinos typically are working class, and so typically voting hours are around the time when they
would do their nine to five? – Yeah, one of the problems
is you’re gonna lose work. You’re gonna lose work. And so, even the construction
of times of voting, early voting, all of these things have political impacts on
who wins and who loses. – [Woman] I agree with you, though. I agree that you don’t have a lot of time to go take days off of work. And I know that’s an
excuse for some people. But the thing is, a lot
of people have their kids. They can’t be taking their kids out and have to be picking
up people from school. – [Woman] I have kids. I don’t make it an excuse. – [Woman] A lot of people at the very end, that’s when they’re like I want to vote. – It becomes more of an excuse when people are hungry. – [Woman] Yeah, a lot of
people just spontaneity, you’re just randomly
like I want to go vote. And that’s what he’s saying, he wants people to have that chance to just say, hey, you know
what, I want to vote today. That’s it, that simple. – [Woman] Well, I think really
what you’re talking about is this narrow view about voting and where it happens and what time. But all that, as to your point, really does make a difference
’cause there’s something about offering things at
times where people can’t go making it more difficult. – Sure. – [Woman] And that there
has to be a recognition– – Allowing voting on weekends would make a huge difference as opposed to voting on weekdays or on Tuesdays, or whatever it might be. – [Man] I know that somebody right now just put in legislation
to have a voter holiday so everybody can be taking
off work and go vote. – [Woman] Would you get
paid on that, though? Your holiday doesn’t get
paid all the time, though. – [Man] Not all the time, but it would be a nice day off to go vote. – [Woman] That was the case is that– – But don’t you think it’s interesting that the state of Texas is not thinking about how to enhance voting by people. It’s thinking of how to
reduce voting by people. That’s what I find absolutely fascinating. To me, we should be talking
about enhancing voting, not making it harder for people to vote. And again, you have to ask, who benefits from these efforts to restrict voting rather than
efforts to enhance voting? – [Woman] So, driver’s license
and passports both cost money to obtain. Are any of the forms of ID free of cost? – That’s the sixth one. You can get an ID for free now. You used to have to pay, but you can get an ID
for free now that is, it’s not a driver’s license ID, but it’s a state photo ID. You still have to go through the trouble of applying for it and that sort of thing. But you can get a
non-driver’s license ID now. And now you don’t have to pay for it. For a while, you did it. – [Man] It’s like you pay
for the birth certificate. – Yes, yes. Then you need your birth
certificate, that’s true. So there’s always the
bureaucratic paperwork involved. – [Woman] When was that changed? Actually, I think that
was changed as a result of the judge’s decision in Veasey, yes. Anything else? – [Woman] Yeah, so they have
early voters registration. So you actually have a long time to be able to go and vote. And (mumbles) by law allowing you to get out of work to go vote. And also, you talk about Latinos and how by restricting Latinos, there’s too many Republicans. You’re assuming that Latinos are poor. – Statistically, they are. I’m not assuming, I’m
looking at the statistics. (audience laughs) There’s a difference between assumptions and social fact. Yes? – [Man] I guess what can be said that when you have Republican voters who are typically statistically
upper middle class, educated, white, they’ll
vote for Republicans. And in turn suppress the voting from minorities so they
can keep their hold on the offices that
Republicans currently dominate in the state of Texas. – Yeah, I mean, the idea is you try to hold onto power. You’ve got power, you try to hold onto it. I know this sounds
incredibly crass and nasty, but this is the way politics works. If you’ve got power, you do what you can to hold onto it. You don’t freely give it up. That’s why it took demonstrations
in Selma, for example. You don’t freely give up power. Yeah? Oh, I thought your hand was up. Just scratching. Anything else? – [Man] I just wanted to
announce that if anyone did not sign the sign-in sheet, I have it up here before you all leave. Thank you. – Okay, thank you. (audience applauds)

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  1. Great video! I really learned a lot about how the Constitution affected the everyday lives of an American. As aforementioned, I loved it.

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