VOTER I.D. MOVES TO FULL SENATE
|Senator Troy Fraser of Horseshoe Bay submitted SB 14 to the full Senate after winning approval by the Committee of the Whole Senate.|
(AUSTIN) — After more than 12 hours of testimony and debate, the Committee of the Whole Senate approved the contentious voter I.D. bill. The bill would require a voter to present a state-issued photo I.D. before voting, which opponents say could disenfranchise minorities, the disabled and the elderly. Bill sponsor Senator Troy Fraser of Horseshoe Bay argued that the state must do all it can to ensure the integrity of elections. "It is imperative that we protect the public's confidence in elections by deterring and detecting voter fraud," he said.
The bill, SB 14, would also provide for a voter education campaign to let the public know about the changes to voting requirements, and would allow anyone without an I.D. to obtain one from the state at no charge. Opponents of the bill argued that it wasn't enough, as people with mobility issues such as the elderly and the disabled would find it difficult or impossible to make it to the DPS office in person to get an I.D. They brought witnesses to testify that voter I.D. laws unfairly impact minority voters, and could disenfranchise thousands of Texans. Witnesses testifying in support of the bill said that states that passed similar bills, like Indiana and Georgia, saw no decrease in voter turnout and in fact saw more people coming to the polls than before.
The Senate will take up this bill and consider amendments on the floor late Wednesday night, beginning at 9:30 P.M. The senate will meet in regular session at 11 A.M. Wednesday.