Texas House passes final version of voter ID bill
AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas House passed hotly debated legislation Monday requiring voters to show photo identification before casting ballots, sending to Gov. Rick Perry’s desk a measure he declared an “emergency” item for the legislative session.
The 98-46 vote adhered to party lines, with Republicans largely saying the measure is necessary to prevent voter fraud and Democrats countering that it could make it harder for the state’s poor and minority voters to go to the polls.
Perry’s signature will mark a victory for Republicans on an issue that has split along partisan lines for years. It requires voters to present a valid state or federal photo ID. A driver’s license, personal ID card, military ID, passport or concealed handgun permit would be accepted.
Republicans pushed a voter ID bill through the Senate in 2009, but it stalled in the House in the final weeks of that session. Senate Republicans again got the bill through that chamber back in January.
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Texas House passes final version of voter ID bill
I can almost hear the lamentations of the ACLU, the NAACP, La Raza, the DNC and every Libertarian in Texas as I post this.
I can see them now, skulking in their lairs, sweat pouring from their fevered brows as they gnash their teeth and wring their hands, dreaming up new ways to demand that their minions go out and make protests against this Conservative debacle and hope that their minions obey their marching orders.
How DARE the state of Texas require a voter to have a picture ID. How DARE Texas to imply that there may be ILLEGALS voting in Texas races! How DARE Texas have the GALL to believe that there may be election irregularities and that it’s possible for an unregistered, and undocumented person VOTE in an election in Texas.
The outrage! The horror! The…uh…wait, is it just me or does anyone else see where this voter ID thing is just what the doctor ordered?
There WILL be some that cry about the passing of this law, but that’s just too bad. We have to have a VALID identification to get by in this modern world. Everything we do is tied to us being able to verify that we are who we say we are, and when voting, that should be just as important as having ID to cash a check or a drivers license to drive a car.
The Senate and House had already approved similar versions of the bill and spent the last month working out a compromise on minor provisions. The last version approved by the Senate last week and the House on Monday allows the state to issue free IDs to be used specifically for voting if someone does not have another acceptable form of identification.
The biggest objection I have heard was that ‘poor old Lupe, Luz and Pepe, they just can’t get a drivers license, but they SO want to vote…’
Now that little argument has been rendered null and void. Actually, it already HAD been rendered invalid, Texas has a State ID Card. It’s not a drivers license, it’s an ID card only, and to get one you have to go to a Texas DPS station and apply, show proof of citizenship, ie: a social security card, a birth certificate or the like, and voila, you have a universally accepted form of LEGAL identification.
Now, Texans don’t even have to pay for an ID card that allows them to prove themselves as eligible voters. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Those expected to require new IDs are mostly people who have religious objections to having their picture taken or have lost their IDs in a natural disaster. Voters without IDs could cast provisional ballots but would have to show identification within six days to have their votes counted.
Religious objections? To having your picture taken? Does that come under the same line of religious freedom that Islamic females demand when they want to have their drivers license pictures made with their faces fully covered?
The proposal also makes illegal voting a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison, and up to $10,000 in fines, rather than the current third-degree felony.
And WHO, exactly, will enforce the law on this?
Make no mistake about it, I am all for enforcing the law. I simply wonder who is going to be at the polls to check and verify, as well as enforce the law. I don’t know how it is where YOU vote, but here in Rowlett we have people working the elections that are barely able to get around the room. Are they going to be charged with ferreting out the wrong-doers?
Final approval did not come without more than an hour of discussion on the House floor, with opponents noting that the proposal will cost the state between $1 and $2 for each new ID issued exclusively for voting — but that officials aren’t sure how many Texans will actually require the new cards.
That led to a bit of a role reversal. Democrats argued against the unnecessary spending, with the bill’s conservative supporters maintaining that those getting new IDs will be too few to make a major fiscal difference.
The cost of these cards could disappear, Texas could just say, ‘OK, you want to vote? YOU pay for your own ID and prove your eligibility, or don’t vote‘, it’s really that simple.
You can’t make everyone happy, but this voter ID bill makes ME happy!