voter id

Love + Photo ID = Marriage?

May 14, 2013 By Laura Wright

Senator Donna Campbell puts a new twist on the debate over photo ID: You can't say "I do" until you show the proper form of identification.

Greg Abbott on Voter ID

Jan 21, 2013 By Jake Silverstein

A federal court struck down Texas' voter ID law today, but on July 13, Texas Monthly editor Jake Silverstein spoke to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who had this to say about the case. 

Righting Votes

Jan 21, 2013 By josealiseda

Why requiring photo identification on Election Day is sensible and necessary—and hurts no one at all.

The fraud of voter impersonation fraud

Aug 14, 2012 By Paul Burka

From the Washington Post, August 11: A new nationwide analysis of more than 2,000 cases of alleged election fraud over the past dozen years shows that in-person voter impersonation on Election Day, which has prompted 37 state legislatures to enact or consider tougher voter ID laws, was…

Texas’ New Voter ID Law Rejected

Mar 12, 2012 By Sonia Smith

The Justice Department slapped the hand of the Texas legislature by blocking the state's new voter ID law, saying it would likely disenfranchise Hispanic voters.

McCaig defends Todd Smith on Voter I.D. issue

Jan 28, 2010 By Paul Burka

This mass e-mail was sent to me by SREC member Mark McCaig. Dear Texas Republicans, Like the vast majority of Texas Republicans, I am a strong supporter of legislation that will require photo identification to vote. As a member of the State Republican Executive Committee, I supported efforts by the…

Whither Straus?

May 26, 2009 By Paul Burka

On the night that the House debated the Appropriations bill on the floor in 2007, Democrats were able to add amendments for a teacher pay raise and against school vouchers. Craddick lieutenants went onto the floor to try to turn the votes but were unable to do so. The next…

How the Democrats passed Voter I.D.

May 25, 2009 By Paul Burka

Elections committee chair Todd Smith has researched the history of Voter I.D. legislation in Texas. He shared his findings with me. In 1997, Elections chair Debra Danburg, a Democrat, brought HB 330 to the floor. The bill amended the Election Code to require an election judge to ask for a…

Will the Democrats walk on Voter I.D.?

May 23, 2009 By Paul Burka

Remember Albuquerque. The Senate Democrats found themselves stuck in New Mexico without an exit strategy. The situation is similar to congressional redistricting in that the governor holds the cards. He can call a special session on any subject and open the call to Voter I.D. Except that the House Democrats’…

Heflin’s vote gets Voter I.D. out of committee

May 11, 2009 By Paul Burka

By Abby Rapoport, Texas Monthly Intern 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…

RPT Secures Voter I.D. Pledges

Apr 29, 2009 By Paul Burka

Fifty-two of the seventy-six House Republicans signed a document prepared by the Republican Party of Texas (a link is on the Quorum Report) pledging to insist on the inclusion of four core principles in a Voter I.D. bill. These principles are: 1. Ensure a valid photo identification is needed to…

The Voter I.D. Hearing: Dunnam makes a point

Apr 7, 2009 By Paul Burka

You can love Dunnam or you can hate him, and I’ve done both, at times, but I’ll say this about him: He doesn’t miss much. He had some Voter I.D. proposals to present to the Elections committee today, and when the hearing started, Todd Smith spoke generally to the audience…

Straus faces ruling on Brown Voter I.D. amendment

Mar 30, 2009 By Paul Burka

The vehicle is HB 71 by Corte. The crucial question is whether a Voter I.D. amendment is germane. The caption and the text of the bill are quite specific. In a rational world, a point of order would have to be upheld, but since when is the Texas House a…

Texas GOP uses Voter I.D. hearing to raise $$$

Mar 12, 2009 By Paul Burka

Here’s the e-mail, dated March 11: We expected and prepared for anything at yesterday’s Senate hearing on Voter ID legislation. Let me tell you — the liberal Democrats in Austin did not disappoint on that front. Hundreds of concerned Texans showed up as early as 7 a.m. on Tuesday morning…

The Indiana redistricting case: Is it in point?

Mar 10, 2009 By Paul Burka

This was an interesting discussion. The same lawyer who was grilled by Wentworth and Tommy Williams (see “Liars and Stolen Maps,” below) was asked by Democrats about the applicability of the Supreme Court opinion upholding the constitutionality of Indiana’s Voter I.D. law. The lawyer’s answer was that the Indiana case…

Abbott spent $1.4 million on voter fraud prosecutions, witness said

Mar 10, 2009 By Paul Burka

This was the testimony of a witness from the Brennan Center at NYU, moments ago (around 10:55 p.m.), who said flatly that there are virtually no cases of voter impersonation fraud. I agree with him on that point, but the oft-repeated information that Abbott spent $1.4 million on voter fraud…

Dueling studies

Mar 10, 2009 By Patricia Kilday Hart

So everyone has done their research…and found research that supports their position. For the Voter ID advocates, Hans von Spakovsky cited an academic study by economist and professor Jeffrey Milyo of the University of Missouri about Indiana’s experience since passing Voter ID. His conclusion: Not only no evidence of repression…

Cute? Not so much…

Mar 10, 2009 By Patricia Kilday Hart

Sen. Royce West, trying to gauge the impact of Voter ID on minorities, asks Fraser if he has spoken to any ethnic minorities about his bill. “I don’t want to get cute with you but you are an ethnic minority and I have talked to you about it,” said Fraser.

Vanishing Fiscal Note

Mar 10, 2009 By Patricia Kilday Hart

It did not escape Judith Zaffirini’s notice that the Voter ID bill from last session carried a $671,000 annual fiscal note, but this year’s version has a a neutral impact.  What prompted the difference? she asks Fraser. “Good research,” he contends. Evidently, upon closer scrutiny, the Voter ID bill can…

Fraser takes the floor

Mar 10, 2009 By Patricia Kilday Hart

Sen. Troy Fraser says his bill requiring voters to present identification was a response to the 2005 Carter-Baker Commission which recommended a uniform voter photo ID. He says that commission found evidence of voter fraud, including voter impersonation. Despite Democratic fears that the bill would repress voter interest, Fraser said…

Tag to prevent hearing?

Mar 10, 2009 By Patricia Kilday Hart

Judith Zaffirini tells the press table that Mario Gallego’s tag may prevent CONSIDERATION of the Voter ID bill, not just passage from committee. According to Z, the tag notes a defect in the official posting, since the Senate yesterday postponed the hearing from 9 a.m.to 10 a.m. today. Also, Duncan…

Abbott not to testify

Mar 10, 2009 By Patricia Kilday Hart

Bob Duncan, responding to Leticia Van De Putte, says the Attorney General is not a proper witness  in the Texas Senate Committee of the Whole on Voter ID because  it “is an issue in which we know there will be a review by the court system and the DOJ.” Van…

The Week in Review

Mar 8, 2009 By Paul Burka

This post has been revised since its initial publication. 1. The Tom Schieffer candidacy. Patricia Kilday Hart and I interviewed Tom Schieffer about his race for the Democratic nomination governor. Interestingly, Schieffer asked to go off the record before the interview to discuss the events that led to his being named one of the Ten Worst legislators in 1975. That was my first year to participate in the writing of the story, along with my then-colleague, Griffin Smith. The writeup was one of the toughest that we have ever written. It was full of anonymous quotes, which we seldom use today. Nowadays, the writeups are largely based on the public record. Schieffer was involved in one of the session's biggest fights, an effort to authorize Texas's first presidential primary in order to aid U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen's bid for the Democratic nomination for president in 1976. The Texas Democratic party in that era was split into liberal and conservative wings, and Schieffer was a conservative Democrat. The liberals were fighting him hard all the way, including my former mentor, Babe Schwartz, and I am sure that that influenced the writeup. The ink was hardly dry on the issue before I began to have second thoughts about whether Schieffer really deserved being on the Worst list. The bill did pass, and Texas did have its first primary--not that it helped Bentsen, who was overwhelmed in his home state by Jimmy Carter. Schieffer has gone on to have a successful career as an oil and gas operator, as president of the Texas Rangers baseball team, and as ambassador to Australia and Japan in the George W. Bush administration. He should be considered a legitimate candidate for governor. The Ten Worst article was 34 years ago. There are lot of obstacles in the path of a Schieffer candidacy, but that article shouldn't be one of them. The main obstacles, of course, are Schieffer's association with Bush and his well motivated, but ultimately self-defeating, unwillingness to distance himself from his friend and former Rangers' business partner; his reluctance as a candidate, including the question of whether he will put his own money into the campaign; and--how do I put this?--a question of whether he has a feel for contemporary Texas politics. I had the feeling, talking to him, that he has one foot in the present and one foot in the seventies, when conservative Democrats ran the state. He still talks about Lloyd Bentsen and John Connally. Connally and Bentsen and Hobby were giants in their day, and they ran things a heck of a lot better than the Republicans have, but Schieffer so far seems like he is just putting his toes in the water. He needs to jump in. 2. The transportation stimulus package. Transportation is one area where the stimulus package can produce real jobs and have real economic benefits. So why is the amount so small--just $2.5 billion overall, and $1.2 billion in the first installment? One of the reasons is that Obama wants to invest in high-speed rail rather than roads. I think this is a mistake. I'd like to see more of the money go to highways and less to high-speed rail. High-speed rail requires total grade separation. For rural Texas, it will make the Trans-Texas Corridor battle look like a walk in the park. I ran some numbers back in the early nineties, when the idea of a bullet train was first floated, and to break even on the project's then $6 billion cost, trains had to run 97% full between Houston and Dallas 24 hours a day. Like it or not, the most efficient method of getting people from point A to point B is one lane of freeway. In an hour, it carries six times the number of people as rail, and the cost is approximately the same. Politically, the most important aspect of the transportation funding battle was the continuing hostility between TxDOT and the Legislature. TxDOT froze lawmakers out of the discussion of which projects should be funded, with the result that 70% of the money will go to toll roads. Legislators did not cover themselves with glory either, as some took the opportunity to lobby for projects in their districts. The level of mistrust of TxDOT is as high as it has ever been--thanks to Commissioner Ted Houghton, who decided to do a little bomb-throwing of his own at the March 5 meeting of the Texas Highway Commission, calling one of the witnesses and the organization he represents "idiots." Senator Hegar fired off a letter to Houghton, which included the following observations:

Perry’s Proposals

Jan 28, 2009 By Paul Burka

My general reaction to the governor’s speech is that it was not his best work. His delivery was off and his message was predictable. Indeed, if you’ll pardon me for saying so, I predicted most of it. In my post before the speech, I wrote that he would back off…

State of the Governor’s Race

Jan 27, 2009 By Paul Burka

The context of Perry’s State of the State speech is that it takes place during a governor’s race in which he is no better than even-money to win. His remarks will be closely watched for clues about how he plans to position himself in his career-risking battle against Kay Bailey…

The future of the 2/3 rule

Jan 17, 2009 By Paul Burka

Ever since Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst wired around the 2/3 rule to pass congressional redistricting in 2003, I have believed that the rule cannot survive in the partisan era. It may still have some life in issues that don’t have partisan overtones, but the maneuvering on the Voter I.D. bill indicates…

Dunnam’s empty threat

Jan 15, 2009 By Paul Burka

Sometimes the Democratic leader can be really smart, as when he pinned down Tom Craddick with parliamentary inquiries over the past three sessions, and sometimes he can be way off base. Yesterday he was way off base when he intervened in the Senate dispute over the voter I.D. bill. He…

The Dew Links Rules Change to Voter ID

Jan 13, 2009 By Patricia Kilday Hart

In his post-session Q and A with reporters, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst predicted that proposals for changing the Texas Senate’s two-thirds rule will evaporate if senators find middle ground on the Voter ID bill. “With agreement on that issue, it (a rules change) becomes moot,” he said. In fact, each…

Patrick’s proposal “dead on arrival??”

Jan 13, 2009 By Patricia Kilday Hart

Ed. Note: We’d like to welcome back Patricia Kilday Hart, who will be covering and blogging the Legislature with Paul. This is her first post. Ah, opening day of the 81st Session, where the mood in the Capitol is one of grand expectations for Peace on Earth, now that Tom…