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The Texas Blue
Advancing Progressive Ideas

Bill Tracker: HBs 101 & 218 - Proving Who You Are

(Part 4 of 5 in a symposium on election law)

Section 63.0101 of the Election Code is a laundry list of acceptable forms of proof of identification by photograph or general documentation. HBs 101 and 218 expand both lists. The only troubling language in the two bills is the requirement that the "voter's identity can be verified from the proof presented."

Under these bills, it would now be acceptable to use a driver's license or personal ID card from DPS that has expired within 2 years of the election. Also, the bill allows a student id card from a public or private Texas university to be used. There are several differences in the bills' lists for photo IDs. HB 101 allows for the use of an ID card from a state agency, county elections administrator, or a county clerk.

The list for general documentation is mirrored in both bills. The forms of acceptable proof include such things as a current utility bill, a certified copy of a birth certificate, a marriage license, a pilot's license, a library card, and a hunting license.

I believe that we can expand further on this list. I will go first. Note: this may not be a constructive exercise.

In the movie Donnie Brasco, Lefty vouches for Donnie by saying that Donnie is one of them. Perfectly acceptable form of ID.

Actually, It's worse!

Both of those bills are actually "Voter ID" bills. They require photo ID or two additional forms of identification in addition to the registration certificate. Take a look and you'll see it.

It really is worse

I saw this today - turnout in 2004 was significantly lower in states that had more strict ID rules.

No surprise

Before I even hit that link, I thought to myself, "20 bucks says I know what demographic that hit hardest." No surprise there.

Couldn't help but notice that they cite Indiana's turnout as having increased 2% in 2006 as compared to 2002, as if that were some justification that, see, that doesn't necessarily hurt voter turnout! I'd like to know their population numbers over the four years, and crosstabs on voters in '06 as compared to '02, to see if there were depressed numbers for certain demographics of voters. I almost think I'd put another $20 on that one.

Consider also...

That Texas has more voters in the impacted groups (minorities), which means turnout would be severely depressed here.

NYT, Too

The NYT hada similar story on that. It's amazing, yet that's what the Republicans are trying to do with the very bills under discussion in this post: mandate voter ID.

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