February 16, 2005
Voting rights and wrongs

Greg Moses of the Texas Civil Rights Review has embarked on his study of the original documents in the Heflin electoral challenge. Today he reports on the case of one deposed voter who answered the questions the way they deserved to be answered.

Meanwhile, Grits reports on yet another awful bill being filed in Austin, HB 516, by Betty Brown (R, Kaufman), which would amend the electoral code to add the following requirements for a voter's registration card:

(1) a driver's license or personal identification card issued to the applicant by the Department of Public Safety or a similar document issued to the applicant by an agency of another state, if the department or the agency of another state indicates on the driver's license or personal identification card that the applicant has provided proof that the applicant is a United States citizen;

(2) a birth certificate or other document confirming birth that is admissible in a court of law;

(3) United States citizenship papers issued to the applicant; or

(4) a United States passport issued to the applicant.

Proof of registration as a voter in another state or county is not acceptable as proof of citizenship.

I don't know about you, but my driver's license doesn't say anything about my citizenship. This would pretty much kill the concept of a voter registration drive - for sure, the HCDP's Sharpstown office would never have signed up 2000 new voters this past fall if this had been on the books. Thankfully, I do have a passport and I know where my birth certificate is (I had to order a replacement a few years back in order to renew my passport), so I would be able to prove myself worthy of voting in 2006. How about you?

I'm not saying that we should be unconcerned about the issue of noncitizens voting. I am saying that I'm not aware of any problems with the current system that would necessitate such an enormous change. Remember, there was a grand total of one non-citizen who provably voted in the HD149 election, and that guy filled out the application form honestly (it was Paul Bettencourt's office that screwed up, something which they've admitted). What's so badly broken here that we need this kind of fix?

Grits has more reasons to scorn this bad bill, so be sure to read his recap. In the meantime, consider telling your representative what you think about this, and hunt around for that birth certificate just in case.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 16, 2005 to Election 2004 | TrackBack