"That's very encouraging for those of us who worked so long and hard on that," said state Rep. Betty Brown, R-Terrell, lead author of a voter ID bill last year. "It has to help those of us who want to see our election process be protected so that only those who are qualified are able to vote."
The legislation passed the Texas House but failed in the Senate, where 11 members united to block the bill from consideration.
And the same would happen next year if a similar voter ID bill reaches the Senate, several Democratic members warned Monday.
"Just because the court decision indicates that it's legal doesn't mean that it's right," said Sen. Mario Gallegos, D-Houston. "The Supreme Court doesn't have a vote in the Texas Legislature."
Gallegos risked his recovery from a liver transplant last spring by remaining in the Capitol and providing the decisive vote in blocking the bill. Senate rules allow 11 members to block legislation they consider objectionable, and Democrats needed Gallegos' presence.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Senate Republicans who wanted the voter ID bill almost got their way on a roll-call vote when Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, was out with the flu. But Uresti rushed into the Senate chamber from a nearby apartment just moments before Dewhurst called his name.
I'm not sure if I should be comforted or alarmed by this:
Gallegos and other Democrats did say they would consider an identification requirement as part of a package that made voting easier -- such as allowing people to register on the same day they vote.
"That would definitely be a plus for me," Gallegos said.
The 2007 Republican bill's author says "maybe" to the idea of same-day voter registration.
"It's possible that down the road that we will go toward that," Brown said.
"There are some things that have to be clarified in our process before we could go to that. I don't have a problem with one-day registration and voting so long as we have assurance that we can know that those people are not voting in other places," she said.
State Rep. Mike Villarreal, D-San Antonio, said the discussion should begin with an assessment of the election system.
"Public policymaking should begin with identifying real problems," Villarreal said. "What we know is that the advocates of voter ID have not been able to bring forth evidence demonstrating that there is real fraud happening in the voting polls."