Via email from State Sen. Mario Gallegos:
This Tuesday, March 10, 2009, the Senate Committee of the Whole will conduct a hearing on proposed photo Voter Identification (SB 362 by Fraser) legislation in the Texas Senate Chamber. On behalf of all Texans, your testimony is vital to blocking unnecessary Voter ID legislation. Please come to Austin to voice your opinion.
Here is what we are hearing regarding the specific schedule that day:
9 a.m. - Hearing will begin with invited testimony
Midday - Hearing resumes with public testimony (anyone can sign up to testify) after the daily Senate session
There is no justification for Voter ID, this legislation only address in person voter fraud - a problem which is virtually non-existent. Despite spending millions on a 2005-2006 Voter Fraud crusade, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott did not find or prosecute one case of Voter Impersonation.
Currently, voters can participate in an election by presenting their voter registration card. The Voter ID proposal would require voters to produce an official ID along with their voter registration card in order to cast their vote. This legislation will create a bureaucratic nightmare for voting that will affect the elderly and minority communities across this state.
In fact, after Indiana passed their Voter ID legislation, twelve elderly nuns were denied access to the poles, because they did not have a valid photo ID. Make no mistake this legislation is aimed at all of us.
As you may recall two years ago I risked my life and went against doctor's orders to block unnecessary partisan legislation, this is how important this issue is to me and to all Texans. This time I am asking you to come to Austin and fight along side me. In order to protect our fundamental right to vote we need everyone to attend this important hearing.
How to testify:
How can YOU be a part of preserving your civic duty to vote? According to the Senate Rules all you have to do in order to testify, is show up and fill out a witness affirmation card. If you want to register your opposition to the bill, but not testify, then just check on the card where it says "does not wish to testify," and your name will be added to the record as having opposed the legislation, without offering testimony. Unfortunately, there is no way to sign up in advance.
Thank you and see you on March 10th!
If you cannot attend the hearing you can still help the fight against Senate Bill 362 by Fraser:
Write a letter to local newspaper
Spread the word to your friends and family
Thank you for your support,
Mario Gallegos, Jr.
Sen. Rodney Ellis is also on this:
When the Texas legislature should be serving the public by addressing the serious issues facing our state today--access to health care, improving education, addressing the serious issues facing our state's economy-- Republicans have chosen to focus on a partisan attempt to deny many the right to vote. Voter identification is a bitterly partisan issue, one that some in the Texas Senate knew would never be heard unless they changed the rules. On the second day of the 81st legislative session, they did just that.
I recently wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, urging the U.S. Department of Justice to review this bill to ensure that Texas is complying with the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Voting Rights Act requires Texas, and several other states, to pre-clear any election procedure that may affect minority voters. The Voter Suppression bill will do nothing to ensure the integrity of our election process. It will only serve to suppress thousands of minority and elderly voters from exercising their rights as American citizens.
We need your help. The Voter Suppression bill is coming to the Senate floor to be voted on by the Committee of the Whole Senate on Tuesday, March 10 at 9am. I encourage you to participate in the democratic process that some are trying to suppress by signing up to testify at the Texas Capitol in Austin Tuesday morning.
If you are willing to testify please come to the Texas Capitol on Tuesday, March 10 or email Dallas Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your:
* Full Name
* Mailing Address
* Email Address
* Contact Phone Number
Thank you for your attention regarding this pressing issue facing our state.
Senator Rodney Ellis