Rick Perry: We'll take voter ID case to Supreme Court

Rick Perry on Fox News, March 16, 2012. Fox News

Texas Governor Rick Perry on Friday vowed to fight the Justice Department's recent decision to block a law that would have required voters in the state to present a government-issued photo ID at the polls, telling Fox News he would take the case to the country's highest judicial body.

"We'll take it to the Supreme Court," he said.

The former Republican presidential candidate argued that the law would help prevent voter fraud, and decried the Justice Department's decision as an infringement on Texas' sovereignty and a "clear violation of the 10th Amendment."

"During the testimony that was in front of the Texas legislature this last session, we had multiple cases where voter fraud was in various places across the state," Perry said. "I think any person who does not want to see fraud believes in having good, open, honest elections. Transparent. One of the ways to do that, one of the best ways to do that, is to have an identification, photo identification so that you prove who you are and you keep those elections fraud-free."

He added: "We are going to have to spend a lot of money and time defending our right to make sovereign decisions from this administration."

Democrats say there is little evidence supporting the idea that voter fraud is widespread, and argue that laws requiring voters to present photo identification disenfranchise minority voters and the poor.

The Justice Department, in its decision this week, said the Texas law was "legally unenforceable" because it failed to show "that the proposed changes have neither the purpose nor the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color or membership in a language minority group," as is legally required under Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

The decision follows a similar action against a South Carolina voter ID law last year, which the Obama administration rejected on the grounds that it would have made it harder for people to participate in the political process.

Perry also cited the Obama administration's recent decision to cut off funding to a Texas program that provides health care for low-income women because the state does not give funding for clinics that provide abortions as another example of government overreach.

"They are just playing politics," Perry said

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