Geoffrey Kuchera /

Eric Kennie, 45, has never left his hometown of Austin, Texas, and he was raised to do “the right thing” and vote. But Texas won’t let him. Spoiler alert: He’s black.

Texas has a voter ID law meant to prevent fraud, its proponents claim. What it actually does is prevent poor people from voting. Although a judge threw out the law, the Supreme Court is allowing it to stand, at least for this election cycle.

According to The Guardian, Kennie collects cans to get by. And even though he went through the relative difficulty and expense of obtaining his birth certificate, the state still won’t let him vote.

The Guardian:

I asked him how much $23 means to him. He said what he does when he feels flush with money is decide to splurge on a special treat for himself and his friends. “I do chicken Tuesday at Popeyes.”

What’s that, I asked.

“Two pieces of fried chicken for 99 cents – one dollar seven with tax. When things are good I might get five or 10 boxes and hand them out to my neighbours.”

So what passes as a reckless binge for Eric Kennie – a splurge on about $10 worth of fried chicken – is less than half of what he spent getting himself a copy of his birth certificate.

The outcome was perhaps predictable by now: the birth certificate wasn’t up to scratch either. When he took it to the DPS (another three buses there, three buses back, another two hours waiting in line) they told him that the name on the birth certificate didn’t match the name on his voter registration card. The birth certificate has him down as Eric Caruthers – his mother’s maiden name – even though his parents were married at the time he was born.

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There’s more to the story, written by Ed Pilkington, but the gist is this: Republicans in Texas are holding on to their tenuous majority by hook and crook. It’s undemocratic, un-American and racist.

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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