Thursday, May 26


The Texas legislature is trying to pass legislation aimed at keeping many Texans from voting, especially minority Texans and others who traditionally favor progressive candidates. The amendment would require citizens to present two kinds of identification, including a photo ID, at the polls. Senate Bill 89 (SB 89), with its amendment offered by Rep. Mary Denny (R-Aubrey), would impose on Texans some of the most restrictive voting laws in the nation. House Bill 1706 (scroll down) is part of a national partisan push to suppress turnout among the elderly, the poor, and minorities.

Supporters act incredulous when told such requirements could create a hardship for many of our citizens. That just shows how ignorant they are of the reality of the "other America." Perfectly qualified, but poor, voters would find it difficult to comply. These are people who have no driver's licenses, can't afford cars, ride mass transit or in groups in the back of someone's pickup to their menial jobs, and have no access to credit cards. But they're proud of their citizenship and they take pains to vote. Then there are the ambulatory-but-home-restricted elderly, who also don't own cars or drive, who live from Social Security check to Social Security check, and have to depend upon someone else to take them to the grocery store or to the polls.

Now this bill may still not sound unreasonable to some. I've heard arguments all over Texas conservative talk radio, including interviews with Senator Royce West of Dallas who opposes the bill, that something like this is required to discourage voter fraud. But if you had my experience in voting in November 2004, you'd suspect that any voter fraud in Texas was more likely to be sponsored by the powerful, not the little guys. Voter intimidation is a much bigger problem in this benighted state than the specter of poor Democrats voting more than once. We're lucky, and we have to work at it, to get even that one vote.

If you're like-minded, please call your senator today and tell him/her to reject the Mary Denny amendment to SB89.

If you don't know who represents you in the Texas Senate, click here to find out.

UPDATE: Just discovered that Off The Kuff has an excellent post on the issue.


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