Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Voter ID: solving a non-existent problem *update*

Floor Pass:

The main argument put forth will be that the only problem Republicans are solving by requiring photo identification in order to vote is the problem of citizens casting legitimate votes for Democrats. The people least likely to have photo identification—such as the elderly, the disabled and the poor—all belong to groups that vote overwhelmingly Democratic.

“The burden should be on the state to prove that there’s a real problem, that there’s no other way to deal with this problem, and that the state will not be precluding people from voting before it enacts this sort of legislation,” said Sen. Kirk Watson.

The only type of voter fraud that Voter ID prevents is voter impersonation. The Democrats will point out, as they did today, that one is more likely to be struck by lightning or see a UFO than they are to come across an act of voter impersonation.

Campaign Legal Center executive director Gerald Hebert said, “There is no widespread, organized, or even significant voter impersonation in Texas. Not a single case has been prosecuted in over 20 years. And I know, because I brought a lawsuit against [Texas Attorney General] Greg Abbott to prove that fact and he acknowledged that it was so.”

Greg Abbott sent agents from the OAG to peek in a little old lady's bathroom window, and he STILL couldn't find any evidence of voter fraud.

Many, many more Texans will be denied their vote because a volunteer poll worker would have the unquestioned authority to decide whether or not someone looks "correct". Think this an exaggeration? Well, it used to be the case during both the Jm Crow period, as well as the time prior to the suffrage movement in the US:

In Texas this week, debate opens on a proposal that places extraordinary identification requirements on citizens who wish to vote. The proposed law's ambiguous language appears to grant part-time, amateur polling place officials the absolute power to accept or reject a would-be voter based solely on that citizen's appearance or other subjective judgments. For the first time since women and blacks were granted the vote, appearance alone may disqualify a would-be voter.

But since this is the greatest single issue facing Texas today, the Republicans are going to make certain it passes.


"This hearing is a sham, just like your redistricting hearings were a sham," (civil rights attorney Gerald) Hebert said.

Hebert said the voter identification legislation is the "latest in a long series of attacks on minority voters in this state" and is part of a "long dark history of keeping people on the reservation through voting."

Hebert, who works out of the nation's capital, said there is no widespread "or even occasional" cases of voter impersonation in Texas.

He called the bill "raw partisan politics" by Republicans "to harm voters in their own state." Hebert said the bill will cost taxpayers millions of dollars to implement.

Follow the live action here and here. And more summary assembled at Off the Kuff. Still more play-by-play from Patricia Kilday Hart at Burkablog.

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