Looks like things wrapped up in the Senate at about 2:30 AM. It's not clear to me if they got through all of the expert testimony, or if they plan to get to the public testimony, assuming anyone who signed up to speak yesterday bothers to come back today. Elise says the Senate will take their first vote on SB362 today, and I'll join her out on that limb in predicting passage by a 19-12 margin.
The last witness of the evening, from the Harris County Tax Assessor's office, was the first to make any concrete claim of voter impersonation actually occurring, based on a report earlier this year from Texas Watchdog that said dead people had voted in 2008 and in some cases before. I don't know why the Rs wouldn't have led off with this guy, since if nothing else that might have gotten his testimony into today's papers, but whatever. (Maybe they didn't want to rehash the allegations that the Tax Assessor's office spent a lot of time this year rejecting legitimate voter registration applications.) No cases have been prosecuted, so it's a little hard to judge the evidence. It seems to me this is more an illustration of identity theft than anything else, and if so then the perpetrators, who did have to show some form of identification to cast those votes, would likely have been able to produce a photo ID as well. It's not like nobody's ever done that before. Even if you accept all this as incontrovertible, the point would still remain that far more legitimate voters would be denied than illegitimate ones would be deterred. Which is still what all this has always been about.
Anyway, we may see the end of this spectacle for today, though I presume there would still be subsequent votes in the Senate - I don't think they can do all three readings in one day. Then we get to do it all over again in the House. Yippee.Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 11, 2009 to That's our Lege