Controversial Voter ID Bill Hits Texas House Floor

AUSTIN (AP) — The Texas House debated contentious legislation Monday aimed at requiring voters to show a photo ID before casting a ballot.

The bill was temporarily derailed on a parliamentary maneuver after Democrats raised objections that procedures were violated, but Republicans moved quickly to fix them. Officials predicted the bill will be back on the floor by Wednesday.

Voter ID legislation sparked partisan tensions after Gov. Rick Perry put it on the fast track to passage. Republicans in legislatures across the nation argue it’s needed to combat voter fraud. Democrats contend the bill is designed to erect hurdles for poor and minority voters who are less likely to have a state-issued ID card.

Having already passed the Senate, the legislation is deemed likely to get approval during the 2011 session after being shot down during high-intensity debates in recent years.

Rep. Patricia Harless, the Houston-area Republican who is carrying the bill in the House, said Texans already are required to produce an ID to get medical prescriptions, board an aircraft and obtain various goods and services.

“Ballot access should have at least the same integrity as renting a movie, boarding a commercial plane or cashing a check,” Harless said. “The fact that states across the nation are passing voter ID laws is proof enough (of) the public’s concerns regarding the potential of voter fraud.”

Democrats know the bill is likely to pass but were trying to delay and amend the proposal during floor proceedings Monday. Legislators on both sides had been hunkering down for a long, partisan debate when House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, took it off the agenda due to procedural defects.

“I’m under no illusion about what the outcome is going to be today,” said Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas. “My fear is that this bill is not going to increase the integrity of elections, but instead is going to keep legitimately eligible Texans from the polls.”

At least eight U.S. states have strict photo ID requirements, according to a late 2010 study by the National Conference of State Legislatures. After Republicans picked up strength in the 2010 elections, photo ID bills are working their way through various state legislatures this year, including in Arkansas, Kansas and North Carolina. Harless said the Texas legislation is modeled after similar laws in Georgia and Indiana.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


One Comment

  1. prowlland says:

    Why was Representative Debbie Riddles name left off of this ? Riddle camped out in front the House on the first day bills were eligible to be filed back in November to make sure a voter ID bill was the very first bill filed in Texas this session.

  2. J D Matthews says:

    Leave it to the Texas Legleslature to waste time and money on a very expensive bill to in force
    that fixes nothing and corrects a problem that does not exist. Tipical Rebuplican set of priorities

    1. Radman says:

      “Very expensive!!!!!” Check the bill, JD. There’s NO fiscal note!
      And proof your messages before you post. It makes you look “not so bright.”

  3. Honest American says:

    I would like to know how this is controversial. I have to show my id when I fly, rent a car, buy beer or wine, rent a video, pick up my meds, when I go to court. This is nothing more than the Demoncrats crying foul because all of the Illegal aliens and convicted felons will not be able to vote for them anymore. Every other hard working, honesty American shows their ID. If you have nothing to hide, show your ID. Pretty simple and honest.

    1. 2sister says:

      I tend to agree with you. Many times I just use my ID any way, because I can’t find my voter’s registration card.

  4. doug says:

    How can you vote if you can’t prove who you are?

    If you don’t have at least one form of government issued ID with a photo… you probably are illegal.

  5. Kim Dar says:

    Come on people a state ID card does not cost that much. Bet there wouldn’t any problem if they let them use their food stamps to buy them! We have to prove who we are to everyone else, why not the persons manning the elections.

  6. c. quiz says:

    The bill is a step in the right direction. The only reason the Democrats are against it is because it will prevent illegals and dead people from voting.

    1. doug says:

      Damn those dead people!!

  7. roy says:

    how come this legislation didn’t happen when dead people got to vote in elections

  8. Randy says:

    Am I mistaking but isn’t it a law that you have to have a state ID if you are a legal resident? Then if that is so, and a voter reg. card is free what is the problem. I don’t see why this wasn’t done years and years ago!!

  9. BIGD says:

    In Texas…Fred Lloya will insure.. ILLEGALS without a valid Texas drivers license….Politicians will insure.. IILLEGALS keep jumping the fence ….

  10. Excuseme? says:

    I have to show ID for everything, including my social security number more often than I like. Why this is considered an issue makes me wonder who has not had to use ID to rent, drive, be insured, and enroll kids in school. If there is a group of people that do not posses ID and never have to use it I want to know why. I think I will choose not to show this ID until I am shown why this is only required of some people and not others.

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