Voter surveys critiqued in final day for evidence in Texas photo ID case

Today is the last day to present evidence in the Texas voter ID case, and both parties are gearing up for the much anticipated testimony of Stephen Ansolabehere, a Harvard professor of government and expert witness for the U.S. Department of Justice.

Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis, a Democrat from Fort Worth, told the three-judge U.S. District Court that she offered 13 amendments to the photo ID bill, but none made it into the final language.

Many of her amendments, she said, were in keeping with the Indiana ID law, which often is cited by Republicans and lawyers for the state of Texas as justification for the law.

Following Davis, American University professor Allan Lichtman, whose specialty is American political history, offered his analysis of the intent and effect of the Texas law.

He critiqued the state’s survey analysis, saying that the survey expert for Texas made several assumptions that inflated his number of voters who have a valid ID.

Lichtman also said the survey completed by University of Texas government professor Daron Shaw is fundamentally flawed. Lichtman pointed to what he said was Shaw’s over sampling of those who have concealed carry permits and a low response rate as not representative of the Texas voting population.

News21 coverage of this Washington, D.C., federal court hearing will continue this afternoon.

By Annelise Russel and Lindsey Ruta, News21

Texas lawsuit includes differing estimates of voters without ID

Day two of Texas v. Holder is underway and this morning the testimony was all about the numbers.

Court resumed with testimony from Thomas Sager, a University of Texas statistician whose studies show the number of Texas voters who lack ID. Sager estimated that around 167,724 registered voters do not have an ID — lower than the Department of Justice estimate that ranged from 1.5 million to 1.9 million.

Sager testified that Justice Department studies included inflated estimates. He said the estimates included statistical biases against women and Hispanics, and that previous studies did not account for age and other parameters. For example, people over 65 can vote by mail without an ID.

On cross-examination, Justice Department lawyers pointed out that Sager received assistance in his studies from the Texas attorney general’s office and that he did not conduct all the studies himself. Sager maintained that he verified all the studies.

The defense also noted that Sager used a different list of Texas driver’s licenses than the one used by their expert.

Sager maintains that all matching in the case — both by himself and by defense expert Stephen Ansolabehere — are ultimately “inconclusive” because their methodology includes statistical bias against Hispanics.

By Lindsey Ruta and Annelise Russell, News21