Thursday, March 24, 2011

GOP Finally Gets Voter ID Bill Passed in Texas House

The theme of voter integrity became the battle cry for the bill's passage

by Peter Stern

Texas is one of 25 states considering some sort of photo voter ID bill, while 8 states already are using them in the voting process.

After 6 years of trying to approve a Voter ID Bill, the Texas House was able to pass a version House Bill 250 that is sure to be modified in the Texas Senate, Senate Bill 14. The House bill passed 101-48 along party lines. Texans are told over and over by Republicans that the bill will curb voter fraud. The Democrats say that the bill is discriminatory against the elderly and minority voters, many of whom do not have photo ID's.

The balanced truth is that little about the bill will protect voter integrity since there is a small percent of such actions. If the GOP is so motivated to keep the integrity of the voting process, the party should focus more on improving the integrity of the voting machines, the process of handling votes and the counting of them and lastly, to improve on the process of accepting mail-in ballots. None of these issues are addressed in the bill.

There is no doubt that the bill is the ending of a long-time political ploy by Texas Republicans who somehow believe it will give the party more clout to win in districts with a large amount of minority voters. In truth, the Voter ID Bill will do little towards that objective.

If legislators wish to improve voter integrity, a major piece of legislation should focus on improving the total voting process and scrutinize more closely the many issues still surrounding the questionable integrity of voting machines. In addition, currently the manufacturers of voting machines, e.g., Diebold, are permitted by law to contribute to political campaigns, which in actuality is a major conflict of interests. However, legislators are not really interested in improving the voting process and ensuring true integrity of the entire process.

Furthermore, not all citizens are treated equally under the bill because amendments were approved to exempt those over 70 from showing photo ID's and also allows indigent and religious people to show identification in a different way if they do not have a photo ID. Another amendment gives a 60-day cushion for expired ID's .

What the bill does accomplish is what so many proposed current bills do that are pushed by both Democrats and Republicans, which is to permit government to intrude more aggressively into the lives of American citizens. More and more Americans are losing more of their long-time Constitutional rights and privileges.


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