Not surprisingly, the two voter ID bills passed out of committee yesterday on a party line vote. It will, I presume, also be passed by the House on a straight party line vote as well. The only question at this point is what Senate rules Lt. Gov. Dewhurst will discard or ignore in order to push it through that chamber. The Republicans want this, and they will move heaven and earth to get it.
I thought the case of Royal Masset’s mother might give some of this bad idea’s proponents pause, but so far it hasn’t. I’m just amazed at how little concern there is for the likelihood that American citizens will be denied their right to vote by measures like these, all in the name of…well, I couldn’t honestly tell you. I’m confident that by and large the people who are cheerleading for these bills would be the first ones on board the Outrage Express if we were talking about someone being denied the right to practice their religion, or to buy a firearm. I genuinely don’t understand the blitheness with which voting rights are treated.
Maybe I could understand this a bit better if there were actual evidence of a real problem. Maybe if the voter ID proponents could cite actual cases of fraudulent votes being knowingly cast by noncitizens or other ineligible voters, I could see the need for this. But all we ever get is fearmongering. I have to ask, if this really is such a widespread problem, why aren’t the Tina Benkisers and Leo Bermans of the world banging on Greg Abbott’s door, demanding that he Do Something about it? Over a year ago, Abbott made big noises about busting vote fraud cases, but all of them had to do with mail-in ballots, and most of them involved violations of a 2003 law that made it illegal to possess another person’s absentee ballot, a law that is being challenged in court. If Greg Abbott can’t provide cases to back up the allegations made by pro-voter ID people, then what evidence is there?
And this isn’t just happening in Texas. Two of the US Attorneys fired in the Purgegate scandal were fired precisely because they had the temerity to conclude that allegations of voter fraud in their states were bogus. This isn’t a solution to a problem, it’s a political strategy cloaked in part by anti-immigration sentiment. It’s reprehensible.
Stace has more. All I can say at this point is that I hope Sen. Ellis wins his staredown contest with Dewhurst.
UPDATE: Oh, and Texas also took a step towards ratifying the 24th Amendment, which outlawed the poll tax, yesterday. Please fill in your own snark.
UPDATE: More debunking of the “voter fraud” myth.