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Roger Staubach

Roger that

So about two weeks ago I got an email from a gentleman named David Smith, who is the proprietor of a website called Texans for Staubach, as well as the treasurer of a PAC by the same name, whose purpose is:

-To oppose the re-election of Governor Rick Perry
-To oppose the election of U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison to the office of Governor
-To promote the candidacy of Roger Staubach for the Office of the Governor of the State of Texas

I had a brief email correspondence with Smith about this, and told him that while I’m on board with the first two planks in that platform, I’ll be supporting a Democratic candidate next November. I have a lot of respect for Roger Staubach, even as a Giants fan, but unless he’s about to do a Arlen Specter, I don’t foresee voting for him in the event he heeds this call. Nonetheless, I said I’d give this a mention, and so here we are. I don’t expect anything to come of this – besides Rick and Kay, the GOP primary has at least two other potential candidates; I don’t see how there’s the room, or the finances, for a Staubach bid – but there you have it.

UPDATE: Turns out The Rog is a KBH supporter.

Voter ID still pending

No hurry, fellas. Seriously, take all the time you want.

Rep. Todd Smith, the Euless Republican who helms the House Committee on Elections, said today he’s still trying to gather the five committee votes he needs to send a voter ID measure to the full House. Smith, you’ll remember, initially said he hoped to win the committee’s sign-off on his approach sometime last week.

Noting that House rules permit members to act on Senate bills for three weeks’ more, Smith said: “We don’t have a gun to our heads. I’m going to give the members of the committee time to get comfortable with a proposal.”

Smith did not confirm that he’s backed off his rewrite of the Senate-approved proposal that circulated last week, though there’s been talk that he’s willing to implement the ID mandate in 2011 rather than 2013 as he suggested last week.

There’s also chatter that Smith is amenable to requiring photo IDs of every voter, one of several principles listed in a letter signed by 71 House Republicans. Under the must-have-a-photo-ID approach, a voter without an ID could still cast a provisional ballot (subject to being counted after regular ballots) by presenting documents indicating her or his identity.

“We all have our preferred route” to a proposal, Smith said. “Everybody is going to have to give a little bit.”

Much as I want this to die, I wonder if the best result is for the GOP-preferred punitive bill to come to the floor, then lose because Reps. Tommy Merritt and Delwyn Jones vote against it. That may be the result the gives the most discouragement to it coming up again in a special session. Dying in committee may suggest to Governor Perry that all he needed was more time, not more votes. Just a thought.

Meanwhile, the League of Women Voters and five other non-partisan advocacy groups released a document (PDF) that outlined their preferred approach to election reform.

Problems that need addressing:

1. Texas was 46th in voter turnout by voter eligible population in the 2008 general election. Only Hawaii, West Virginia, Utah and Arkansas had a lower voter turnout than Texas.
2. Texas has the highest number of recent violations under the Voting Rights Act.
3. Rejection rates for provisional ballots for Texas are among the highest in the country.
4. Advocacy groups report a significant number of instances of poll workers not following existing election law on provisional ballots and ID requirements but Texas doesn’t have an adequate method of reporting and dealing with these issues.
5. Hispanic registration rates are significantly lower than white-non-Hispanic registration rates in Texas.
6. Despite the mistaken belief that many voters are not eligible to vote, there is virtually no evidence of voting by non-citizens or voter impersonation.

Principles for addressing these issues:

1. Register all eligible Texas voters and make sure their votes get counted accurately.
2. Protect the rights of all Texas voters from deceptive practices that intimidate voters or provide false information about voting.
3. Encourage all eligible Texans to participate in all Texas elections.
4. Provide avenues to identify, report, investigate and resolve election issues.
5. Prosecute cases of voter and election fraud.
6. Substantive changes in voting policies, including any change in identification requirements, must be accompanied by a robust and multifaceted public and poll worker education campaign.

Good luck with that. Link via Vaqueros and Wonkeros.

UPDATE: A new draft bill made the rounds, with some concessions such as a 2011 implementation date but also some hardlining, as all non-photo forms of ID were removed as acceptable for casting a non-provisional ballot. Dems were not happy and circulated a letter demanding more hearings, which Rep. Smith was not inclined to do. Republicans aren’t that happy with this, either, and so no committee vote was held today. Postcards has the most comprehensive take on it, but see also Texas Politics, Elise Hu, and Rep. Pena.

UPDATE: Floor Pass has a more thorough analysis of what’s wrong with the “compromise” bill.