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Editorial columns

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Texas holds ’em voteless

Greg Abbott, the Republican attorney general of Texas, campaigned for the state’s new voter ID law, a transparent effort to tilt elections to Republicans by suppressing the minority vote.

So it was a rich irony that Abbott, who is running for governor, himself set off alarms as a suspicious voter.

The new law masquerades as a tool to combat election fraud. In fact, there is no statistically significant – or even insignificant – evidence of in-person fraud at the polls in Texas.

That didn’t matter to Republicans, who are deeply frightened that Texas’ booming and Democratic-leaning Hispanic population will gradually loosen their grip on the state’s levers of power.

The Texas statute requires a match between a voter’s name as it appears on his or her ID and as it appears on the state’s registration rolls. It turned out to be a problem for Abbott, too, who goes by “Greg Abbott” on the voter registration rolls and by “Gregory Wayne Abbott” on his driver’s license.

Under a provision of the law added by Democrats, which allows a voter to cast a ballot if the versions of his or her name are substantially the same, Abbott was ultimately allowed to vote – but only after he was made to sign an affidavit.

Given those obstacles, it’s hard to imagine how other people – less educated, less savvy and less persistent than Abbott – will manage to cast a vote. Of course, that’s what Texas Republicans are counting on.

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