Chalk one up in the win column for the integrity of the voting process in Texas. Despite the best efforts of Democrats to stall the will of the people with parliamentary procedure and an abundance of amendments - more than 60 - the Texas House of Representatives passed the voter id bill late Wednesday night. The vote passed with a huge margin. 101 - 48.
On January 26, 2011, the Texas Senate passed the legislation by a vote of 19-11. At the time, it was reported to be a partisan issue. Democrats want you to believe it is a partisan issue. It's not.
"I have Democrats, Republicans and independents in my district who think people ought to show ID before being allowed to vote," said Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton.
What is the bill all about? It is a common sense measure to insure that the person voting in an election is truly who he or she claims to be. This is accomplished by showing a piece of government-issued identification with that person's photo on it. Hardly a draconian measure and certainly not a new idea, yet the Democrats would have you believe it is the height of discrimination.
The identification requirement amounts to a piece of id most people use daily in normal routine.
Several kinds of government-issued photo identification would be accepted, including a driver's license, a U.S. military ID card and a U.S. passport. The cost of the bill was a point of contention, as the Department of Public Safety would be required to waive fees for issuing photo IDs to those who say they are getting them to vote.
Unreasonable? Hardly. Even the argument that this is a burden to the poor is tackled with the state providing for the fee waiver for those folks.
It is a second major loss for the Texas Democrats over common sense reform in the election process. You may remember this all came to the forefront thanks to a Houston group - King Street Patriots - and their nationally recognized initiative to True the Vote. Lawsuits were encouraged by local agitators against the group and its founder, Catherine Engelbrecht. The call to action came after allegations of corruption at polling places grew. There were even reports of voters accompanied into voting booths by an activist instructing the voter for whom to vote.
There are reasons that voters legitimately need assistance: physical limitations, language barriers, general questions about the operation of the equipment. Helping those voters is absolutely necessary and correct. Every citizen deserves the opportunity to participate in an election that is free and fair. However when assistance is not needed but rather foisted upon a voter, a line is crossed. Helping becomes election fraud. And we saw it happen time and again.
Passage of this legislation is timely for the True the Vote movement in Texas. This weekend brings the True the Vote National Summit in Houston. Registrants are from 25 states and the event is sold out. You can, however, attend the virtual summit online. Registration information is provided on their website.