Maddow Dishonestly Claims Texas Voter ID Law Exempts Residents with Concealed Handgun License

Never trust a source as cited by Rachel Maddow.

It's not the sources themselves that are deceitful, at least much of the time. It's what she does with the information they provide that is.

On her MSNBC show Friday night, for example, Maddow was riding one of her favorite hobby horses, alleging that new voter ID laws enacted or proposed in 40 states are little more than GOP-led efforts to suppress voter turnout among core Democrat constituencies.

To bolster her argument, Maddow said this about a new voter ID law in Texas (video after page break) --

Occasionally Republicans tip their hand on this, as they have done in Texas, when Texas Republicans were cranking down voting rights, making it harder to vote in that state than it has ever been before, Texas Republicans carved out an exception to their new you-have-to-show-an-ID-to-vote-now rule. The exception is? (pause for dramatic effect) For anybody who has a concealed carry permit for a weapon. (Stated as story from Texas Observer shown, on new voter ID law, with words "concealed handgun license" broken out from story and prominently displayed). What do you think it is about having a gun that makes the Republican legislators of Texas relax about your eligibility to vote?

What is it about the leftist shills at MSNBC that causes them to relax when it comes to journalism standards?

Anyone checking the source cited by Maddow will see that Texas Republicans carved out no such "exception." Here's how the relevant passage in the Observer story reads --

The legislation requires voters to present one of five acceptable forms of photo ID -- a driver's license, military ID, passport, concealed handgun license or a special voter ID card provided free of charge by the state.

Possessing a concealed handgun license doesn't exempt anyone from the new voter ID law -- it allows a person holding such a license to comply with the law.  The alleged "exception" claimed by Maddow extends to four other forms of photo ID, including a driver's license. While legislators are often guilty of the zaniest things, something tells me Texas lawmakers wouldn't pass a photo ID law that exempts everyone with a photo ID.

In case you're wondering if Texas's concealed handgun license includes a photo of the license holder (hence the Observer referring to it as a "photo ID"), it does. Here is a link to the state government website listing requirements for the license, which include photos from the person applying for it. And at risk of stating the obvious, the effectiveness of such a license would be watered down considerably if it did not include a photo of the person to whom it was issued.

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Jack Coleman
Jack Coleman
Ex-liberal from People's Republic of Massachusetts