The Texas Senate is once again gearing up to re-launch its contrived effort to pass Voter ID legislation with a hearing on March 10. Like a Frankenstein monster that just won’t die, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and Senate Republicans are back for another try with SB 362, allegedly because of what a huge problem vote fraud is in Texas.
“We all know thousands of people have voted illegally in Texas elections, threatening the sacred American principle of ‘one person, one vote.’ We cannot allow our democracy to be undermined by voter fraud,” says Dewhurst at his website.
But Dewhurst’s words strike a disingenuous tone since he fails to provide a shred of evidence for a single case of such alleged vote fraud, much less thousands (the Current is still waiting for his press lackeys to respond to multiple requests for such information.)
The Texas Democratic Party is calling upon citizens to attend the hearing at the Senate Chamber in Austin on Tuesday to offer public testimony of their opposition to SB 362.
“There is no evidence of voter impersonation and Texans face far more urgent problems, but Texas Republicans are following a national Republican agenda to keep failed leaders in office with laws that would reduce turnout among seniors, students, people of color and those with lower incomes,” argue the Texas Dems in their appeal for the Lone Star citizenry to attend the hearing with a dissenting voice.
“The voter fraud epidemic they talk about is a ghost epidemic… to suppress turnout to keep failed leaders in office,” said Kirsten Gray, spokesperson for the Texas Democratic Party. “This is an attempt to put bureaucratic hoops between you and the ballot box.”
Gray cited study after study showing that photo ID laws discourage turnout across the board. These included former Texas Republican Party Political Director Royal Masset’s estimation that a photo ID requirement would reduce Democratic turnout in Texas by 3 percent, and a 2006 study by the non-partisan Brennan Center for Justice which found that 18 percent of Americans over age 65 and 25 percent of African-Americans did not have a government-issued photo ID.
“This isn’t voter ID, it’s a photo ID. It amounts to a poll tax,” said Gray in regards to money that some people would need to spend in transportation and taking time off from work to fulfill the photo ID requirement. She also said the red tape could keep still others from being able to vote. “If you’re born in Texas and you can’t get to Austin, you may have to wait up to six to eight weeks to get your birth certificate in the mail.”
Tuesday’s hearing of the Whole Committee of the Senate is set to begin at 9 a.m., with the public testimony scheduled for the afternoon.
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