Voter ID get’s through house committee

Posted in 81st Legislature, Around The State, Commentary, Elections, The Lege, Uncategorized at 9:52 pm by wcnews

You can watch the committee vote below from this Postcards post, Chairman says committee-approved voter ID plan unlikely to pass full House.

Chairman Todd Smith of the House Committee on Elections said the voter ID measure that cleared his committee during the House’s lunch break today probably won’t survive if it’s voted on as is by the full House, which is divided 76 to 74 Republican-Democratic.

“I just don’t think the votes are there,” Smith said, adding that the chances of House members approving the latest version without changes are less than 50 percent.

Kuff, BOR, and Vince have more.

The big story coming out of the bill getting out of committee was that it was a 5-4 vote with one Democrat voting for it, and one Republican voting against it. While as this post at BurkaBlog by Abby Rapoport, Heflin’s vote gets Voter I.D. out of committee.

The Elections Committee sent Voter ID out of committee over lunch—but it’s not the bill most wanted. After going through several versions and so-called “compromise bills”, the committee ultimately voted on Troy Fraser’s Senate version, identical language and all. The meeting, a chaotic gathering at Chairman Todd Smith’s desk, first showed signs of strain when Bonnen, a previous supporter, passed on his vote. Then Heflin gave a short talk before he voted, saying “I trust the chairman that we’re going to work to get some of [the previous language] back in … It still needs a lot of work.” Although Heflin voted aye, the bill left committee with a vote of 5-4. After the meeting, even Betty Brown expressed concern. “I think it’s a good beginning,” she explained. “We’re hoping to improve it yet.”

It would have passed either way. Bonnen would have voted aye to get it out of committee. Also remember that Heflin is a “conservative” Democrat, from West Texas, he’s in Pete Laney’s old district. So he was trying to keep the direct mail to a minimum in 2010. That last comment from Betty Brown seems to mean that despite What Rep. Smith says, the bill is far from dead. No matter how bleak, at this point, Voter ID’s future looks, it’s on the way to the Calendars Committee.

While the GOP may think it’s a good wedge issue, that’s not why they’re fighting this fight. As polls show, a huge majority overall may think Voter ID makes sense, but that isn’t going tobe the deciding issue for most voters in 2010. Mainly the partisans, on both sides, get really riled up about this issue. If the Texas GOP, and the far right, think they must have a Voter ID bill to keep power, it’s still very likely some form of Voter ID will pass.

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