Dewhurst Thinks Two-Thirds Rule Will Hold
Lt. Governor says voter ID fight can be resolved
By Lee Nichols,
3:01PM, Tue. Jan. 13, 2009
Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst just told reporters on the Senate floor that he thinks reports of GOP senators trying to suspend the two-thirds rule over the issues of voter ID and redistricting won’t come to pass, but made it clear he still wants a voter ID law.
“As far as I know, and I haven’t gone into the caucuses yet, but I don’t think the two-thirds rule is going to change," Dewhurst said. "That’s not really an issue. I’ve been talking with Democrats for the past year, as late as yesterday.
"I think what their concern is, is we don’t want to turn away some of our elderly voters that may not have photo IDs, and some of our middle aged voters that need to know more and understand that they need to bring a photo ID. And that makes all kinds of sense to me. We don’t want to disenfranchise anybody. I think this issue and the polling I’ve seen is overwhelming: Everybody wants to make sure that only U.S. citizens vote in our elections. So I don’t think there is a lot of controversy."
Dewhurst said he thinks Republicans and Democrats can sit down and work out their issues to produce a consensus, especially if a two- or four-year phase-in and public service announcements are added to whatever bill emerges.
“I don’t want to get into names,” Dewhurst said, “but a number of my friends, the Democratic Senators, have said, ‘You know, we’re wrong on this issue, the voters are against us on that, but at the end of the day we just want to protect our older voters and make sure voters are used to [bringing photo ID to the polls], they have the information, they’re reminded to bring some form of ID.
“I’m not trying to micromanage this,” Dewhurst said, noting that the chambers rules are decided by the senators. “I’m careful to stay out of the senators’ rules, but again, I think if we can get everyone in the same room for a little while, for an hour or two, this is not a difficult issue to come to agreement on.”
Dewhurst said senators are supposed to meet this afternoon to hash out the issue.