May 04, 2007
HB218: No action in the Senate yet

The rumor was that the voter ID bill HB218 was going to come up in the Senate yesterday, but according to the TLO all that happened was a cosponsor was authorized. I sure hope Sen. Gallegos is either in Austin or prepared to get back there on a moment's notice, because who knows when this will actually come up.

Did you catch the KPRC story about some bogus voter registration applications that came into the Harris County Tax Assessor's office? Quite the propitious timing, that. Racy Mind has a screenshot and a bit more to the story:

It appears a number of voter registration applications have trickled into the Harris County Tax Office since February, according to the Office spokesman I talked to. Over 50 applications were mailed from El Paso, listing a non-existent Houston address.

The Tax Office spokesman said the news crew was there for something else entirely, but they saw the voter fraud memo on a desk and the reporter said "hey, there's a story!" So they did one.

Never mind that no fraudulent votes could have taken place - there would be nowhere to deliver the voter reg cards since the address doesn't exist.

Not to mention that the reg cards received by the Tax Assessor's office are clearly not Texas forms, as anyone who has ever registered a voter well knows. Among other things, party affiliation is not part of the registration form under current law. Which is something I'm sure Paul Bettencourt knows. If this is the "widespread voter fraud" that the GOP swears (but has no evidence to prove) is happening, it's clearly not much of a threat to anything.

UPDATE: The Statesman answers my questions about Sen. Gallegos and HB218.

Sen. Mario Gallegos Jr. of Houston, who's been away from the Capitol most of the legislative session after a liver transplant, showed up in the Senate on Thursday to join a bloc of Democrats opposing the voter ID bill.

Under Senate rules, two-thirds of the chamber, or 21 senators, must agree to bring a bill up for debate. With Gallegos present, the 11 Democrats have enough power to block it.

"We're 11 strong in unity," Gallegos said Thursday. He said he planned to be there every day for the rest of the session to help stop the bill. The five-month session ends May 28.

Gallegos said he feels up to being at the Senate for the rest of the month.

"Is it easy? No. No, I'm not going to lie to you," he said. "I feel OK. I'm not a hundred percent, so I've got to take my medicine."

Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, the Senate's presiding officer, had warned that he might call the voter bill up for debate as soon as Thursday and gave Gallegos a 24-hour warning, as he'd requested. The proposal never came up Thursday.


Dewhurst said he'll take his first opportunity to pass the bill.

My interpretation of that last sentence is "Dewhurst will wait and hope that Gallegos needs to return to Houston at some point, at which time he will bring up HB218". Have I mentioned that we need to keep Sen. Gallegos' continued good health in our prayers? Link via Stace.

UPDATE: A commenter points out that the registration form shown in the KPRC story is a federal form, which is valid for any state. It's still a very clumsy attempt at fraud, if that's what it really was, and quite convenient from a timing perspective.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 04, 2007 to That's our Lege

The voter registration forms shown are "national" forms prescribed by the federal goverment. They must be accepted in all states.

Posted by: Anonymous on May 4, 2007 1:17 PM

Heck, I'll even give you the link to the federal form from the EAC web site.

National Registration Form

Just to summarize the story so far. A group of vote fraud perpetrators from El Paso, go out of their way to obtain national registration forms, which clearly state in their directions for TX to leave the field for race "blank" and that the party field is optional.

So these lawbreaking perps fill out those fields anyway. And then the address given in the instructions for the national form lists the SOS address in Austin, but the perps choose to mail them to Houston instead. Because after all, that's where the fraud at the fake address they listed would vote, right? And according to the video Mr. Bettencourt says they were trying to vote in the May election so he must have had them for at least a month now. You think he's turned them over to the DA by now?

Posted by: Sonia on May 4, 2007 4:54 PM

Great catch on the mailing address, SOS-Austin vs. Houston. Let's keep digging.

Posted by: racymind on May 4, 2007 8:23 PM