March 18, 2005
Mary Denny strikes again

Having already filed "one of the worst pieces of legislation in recent memory", State Rep. Mary Denny (R, Flower Mound) is at it again, filing one of three new atrocious anti-democratic (small d) bills designed to make it harder to vote.

Texas voters would have to show photo identification or multiple forms of other ID before they could cast their ballots under election law changes being pushed by House Republicans.

Three bills with the photo ID requirement are pending before the House Elections Committee. Lawmakers heard testimony from supporters who say the measure would prevent voter fraud and opponents who warn it will deny some citizens of their right to vote.

"This is to make sure you are who you say you are when you show up to vote," said Rep. Mary Denny, the Flower Mound Republican who sponsored one of the bills. She is chairwoman of the elections committee.

The Republican Party of Texas supports the measure. The state Democratic Party opposes it.

"They're just adding roadblocks to voting," said Democratic Party Chief of Staff Mike Lavigne.

The Democratic Party believes that voting is the most important right that citizens have. Apparently, the Republican Party believes it's a privilege which can be restricted at the Legislature's whim.

Mary Denny was on the House panel that would have evaluated Talmadge Heflin's challenge had it not been dropped after Will Hartnett issued his report. She knows full well that all of one voter in HD149 was a non-citizen, and he was issued a voter's reg card even though he correctly checked the box identifying himself as a non-citizen. Denny's bill would not have stopped him from voting, as long as he had that card plus his driver's license with him. Does she have any evidence that there is a problem of non-citizens voting beyond this one example? Or is she just scaremongering and attacking the civil rights of all Texans?

"These bills are not based on evidence of fraud," said Nina Perales, of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. "They will prevent some voters from casting ballots."

While several states require some sort of voter identification at the polls, Denny's measure would make Texas among the most restrictive in the nation, said Laurie Vanhoose of Advocacy, Inc., which works on behalf of the disabled.

Several county elections administrators who testified were split on whether to support the measure.

George Hammerlein, director of voter registration in Harris County, which has about 1.8 million voters, said he supports it.

"We think voters have a certain responsibility along with the right to vote," Hammerlein said. "It provides integrity and gives people confidence in the system."

Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, a sponsor of one of the voter ID bills, said the extra burden of proof would not be a significant hurdle for voters to overcome.

"Our world has changed a lot since Sept. 11," she said. "You can't get on an airplane without a picture ID. A number of things require us to prove who we are."

Stace is right - this is equating voters to terrorists, and it's despicable. For shame.

Oh, and one more thing. That article didn't mention the third sponsor of these terrible bills, but this one does.

One of the measures is sponsored by Rep. Joe Nixon, R-Houston, a key member of Republican House Speaker Tom Craddick's leadership team.

As if we needed another reason to eject Nixon from the House.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 18, 2005 to That's our Lege | TrackBack

I really hate it when people make it sound like I'm defending Republicans, BUT

What's wrong with making sure the person about to vote is really who they say they are? I mean, if someone is intent on voter fraud, do you really think that asking who they are will make them say, "Hey, you caught me. Damn. I'll try again in four years."


Posted by: Xpatriated Texan on March 18, 2005 11:56 AM

Whenever I get depressed by national politics, I can always turn to Texas politics to get more so.

Posted by: Jim McCulloch on March 18, 2005 12:46 PM

XT - From the article:

"Currently, if a voter presents a voter registration card at the poll, that's enough to cast a ballot. Without it, voters are allowed to proceed if they present a photo ID such as a driver's license or a state-issued personal identification card.

Other forms of acceptable non-photo identification include birth certificates or U.S. citizenship papers, a U.S. passport, a utility bill, bank statement, government check or other government document with the name and address of the voter, or some other identification approved by the secretary of state. Currently, just one of those alternate forms is necessary.

Denny's bill would require voters to present a voter registration card and their photo ID. Without a photo ID, the voter would have to provide two forms of alternative ID."

What Mary Denny is saying is "Your voter's reg card isn't enough" even though you have to declare your citizenship, under penalty of law, when you apply for that card. If she cared to present any evidence that people are using fake reg cards, or stolen reg cards, or borrowed reg cards, or whatever, then we could have this discussion. But she's not, and I see this as an attempt to curtail participation.

Beyond that, as I said, voting is a right. It should not be trifled with lightly.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on March 18, 2005 1:07 PM

I don't know what other legislation you're talking about that Denny has filed, but this is one of the best ideas I've heard of in a long time. I live in Alice, Texas, home of the infamous Box 13--and it still is going on today--just with different bosses. This bill will go a long way toward protecting the elderly and disabled against the vote whores paid by candidates who take their vote away year after year. This year alone we had over 300 mail in ballots signed in the same handwriting--and all with the same address--Hospitality House--the nursing home here. Whoever said there isn't any evidence of fraud has never been to South Texas or the Valley. Anything that makes it harder for the politqueras to rob the vote away from the working people should get an applause--not an attack.

Posted by: Cindy Balboa on March 18, 2005 1:36 PM


Imagine having to show a picture ID for something vitally important in life and civic duty.

The inhumanity.

The outrage.

For God's sake... someone please think of the children.

Posted by: Chris Elam on March 18, 2005 1:42 PM

I don't have a problem with an either/or proposition (voter registration card or a state-issued photo ID) since that proves your identity and/or citizenship. The voter registration card should have more merit since it amounts to a sworn statement that you are a US citizen.

In New York, on the other hand, the card is not required. You simply state your name at the poll and they look up your address in the records. If you state that the address is correct, then you are allowed to vote. If you are not in the records, then you must complete a paper ballot.

Posted by: William Hughes on March 18, 2005 2:29 PM

Cindy, you're talking about forged signatures on absentee ballots. Denny's bill would require two forms of ID when you vote in person. How does that address your concern?

Chris, I knew you'd contribute something sharp and incisive to this discussion. Thanks for meeting my expectations.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on March 18, 2005 2:41 PM

Sorry Charles... I'd devote more mental energy if it weren't just such a darn funny post of yours. =)

Posted by: Chris Elam on March 19, 2005 3:06 PM

"The Democratic Party believes that voting is the most important right that citizens have", but not as important as driving a car, flying on an airplane, proving you're old enough to buy a six-pack of beer, opening a bank account, or travelling across an international border? Puleeese...spare me. What, exactly, is the undue burden of carrying a photo ID to the polls? What are Democrats REALLY afraid of?

Posted by: J King on March 20, 2005 7:47 PM

How about this, Mr. Elam: Leave the 747, on which you plan to fly to Paris shortly, outside, drive your car with your driver's license mounted on the windshield into the polling place, heft your 6-pack with the Kroger receipt attached onto the table right next to the sign-in sheets, tell your mother to stop crying until they get a little DNA out of her mouth, and lay your voter registration card down on the table--but don't take your hand off of it because you don't know who the hell that person is who's looking at it. Of course, we could just have a piece of paper coming out of the voting machine to record the vote--or is that too simple? Too honest? Too foolproof? Too Democratic partyish? And Mr. King, I wasn't aware that the Democrats were afraid of anything. I thought it was the Republicans who were afraid that we might be able to vote. That IS something to be afraid of.

Posted by: Yellow Dawg on March 30, 2005 11:51 AM

Does anyone have a photo of LBJ standing by a car with the "box 13" on the hood?

If so, could you please send it to me.


Posted by: charlie on December 15, 2005 10:10 PM