Thursday, April 2, 2009

Voter Photo ID: A Flawed Solution To A Made-Up Problem

With its requirement that voters present a government-issued photo ID or specified substitutes along with their voter registration card at the polls, the voter photo ID bill’s stated goal is to prevent voter fraud. No one favors voter fraud, but to this day proponents of voter ID have not shown convincing evidence that such fraud is a problem or has even occurred in Texas.

Requiring voters to present a government-issued photo ID to vote is a flawed solution to a made-up problem. Republican maneuvering has every appearance of a disparate scheme devised to stack the deck in favor of Republicans in the 2010 legislative elections. Republicans are anxious to maintain control of the Texas House and Senate to give them the upper hand in the federal and state redistricting decisions that the Legislature is scheduled to make in 2011 following the 2010 U.S. census.
The Texas photo Voter ID bill is part of the Republican agenda to keep Republicans in office by suppressing the vote of groups that tend to vote Democratic. In the 10 states that have already passed voter picture ID laws, voter participation is down about 3 percent. However, black and Hispanic voter participation is down more than 10 percent in those states. The success of Democratic voter registration drives among these Texas groups in 2008 threatens to tip the balance of power away from Republican candidates in future elections. As the tide of Democratic voters continues to grow across Texas, voter ID legislation would be an effective way for Republicans to hold back the tide.
Republicans, who hold a 19-12 majority in the Senate, voted on the second day of the current session to change Senate rules to cut Democrats out of the legislative process so they could ram the voter photo ID bill through that legislative body. Then they proceeded to do so when Republicans passed the Senate Voter Photo ID bill (SB362) in a party line 19-12 vote on March 11.

SB362 will be taken up by the House Elections Committee next week where the Republican committee chairman is solidly on the Republican side of the aisle in wanting to pass the bill into law. There is a slim chance to stop the bill in the House given Republicans hold only a slim 76-74 majority in the House and two of those Republicans sided with Democrats on the issue in the last legislative session in 2007.

You can help convince those House Republicans of good conscience to vote no again by testifying and speaking out against the photo id requirement when the House Elections Committee takes public comment on the legislation next Tuesday.

If you are able to travel to Austin next Tuesday, April 7th to speak out during the House Elections Committee afternoon hearing, please sign up by clicking here.

Read more here

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