Saturday, March 14, 2009

Voter ID Bill Passes Senate On Party Lines

After a marathon all-night session that lasted more than 24 hours, the Texas Senate, convened as the Committee of the Whole, passed Senate Bill 362 requiring that voters present a photo identification to vote on a party line 19-12 vote on March 11.

While proponents of Texas voter ID legislation argue that it's needed to combat voter fraud, there is no evidence that widespread fraud has occurred at any point since records have been kept.

Voter Fraud is the claim that large groups of people knowingly and willingly give false information to establish voter eligibility, and knowingly and willingly vote illegally or participate in a conspiracy to encourage illegal voting by others.

Any claim that voter fraud is rampant in Texas is false.

Texas voter ID legislation, called SB362, might be better named for its true purpose: The Voter Suppression Act of 2009. As Glen Smith, a fellow blogger, put it so well:
Republicans will force Texas citizens to go through multiple contortions just to exercise their right to vote.

People who may be blocked from voting include:
  • A recently married or divorced woman whose last name or address isn't matched up.
  • A college student whose permanent address is different from voter registration address.
  • A person whose had their identity stolen (and had their social security number frozen).
  • A person whose driver's license has expired and who doesn't have a social security card -- or a birth certificate to get a duplicate.
  • A person whose utility bill isn't in my name.
  • An older person who has stopped driving and allowed their driver's license expire.
The only answer to these bureaucratic snafus is that voluntary election judges will be given the discretion to decide. For the first time since the Voting Rights Act, a local volunteer will be able to deny someone the right to vote based on appearance. For instance, if you've dyed your hair or look a little older than your ID picture.
Any Election Judge could refuse to allow a person to vote, based on the Judge's subjective opinion that the voter doesn't look like their Driver's License picture.

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