MSNBC's Lui Allows Guest to Mislead Viewers on Texas Voter ID Law's Implications for Black Students

Update (July 10, 2:57 p.m. EDT): Lui responds via Twitter (see bottom of post for full update).

MSNBC continued this morning to misrepresent the implications of Texas’s voter ID laws, which don’t permit college or university student IDs as valid photo identification for voting in the Lone Star State. During his appearance on MSNBC Live in the 11 a.m. Eastern hour, Ryan Haygood of the NAACP Legal and Educational Fund insisted to substitute host Richard Lui that his organization represents black students “who attend Prairie View A&M and Texas Southern University, who previously used the only form of photo ID that they had, student ID” to vote.

Since those IDs are no longer allowed, “Texas’s laws are discriminatory,” Haygood argued.  For his part, Lui failed to bring on a guest to defend Texas’s law nor did he challenge any of Haygood’s assertions. But a little bit of skepticism and a few minutes of Web searching would have shown Lui that Haygood’s assertion was malarkey, because to get a student ID at the colleges Haygood mentioned, a student needs to have a photo ID in the first place.


The Tiger 1 card “is the official Texas Southern University (TSU) identification card for all students, faculty, staff, contractors, and visitors,” the website for TSU notes. Under the “Where Do I Get My Tiger 1 Card?” FAQ entry, the University notes that “state photo identification is required” to obtain one.

The same is true at Prairie View A&M, where both new and returning students alike (emphasis mine) “must bring a photo ID (DL, state ID, high school ID, military ID or passport) along with your UIN number (student profile), no exceptions.”

With the exception of a high school ID, all of those forms of ID are perfectly valid to present to an elections official at the polling place to vote, and what’s more, not every incoming freshman at Prairie View is going to have a high school ID, as some high schools don’t issue them and many students may lose them or discard them after graduating high school. The bottom line, then, is that most Prairie View A&M students are going to need a government-issued ID to get their required college ID.

Both the Prairie View A&M  and TSU websites show mockups of their student ID cards. Neither card has a space for the permanent address or date-of-birth of the cardholder, both important pieces of information to confirm the identity and eligibility of a potential voter. Those pieces of information, however, ARE present on Texas concealed carry permits.

Update: Lui responded to a tweet of mine in which he says that TSU only requires valid photo ID of faculty and staff, not students. Of course, staff can include lower-income blue-collar workers -- think groundskeepers and dining hall workers -- that the NAACP also would insist are unlikely to have photo ID and are prone to being "disenfranchised":

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters