Time for Party Lines
Dems condemn voter ID debate, Republicans turn it into Austin-bashing, fund-raising opportunity
By Richard Whittaker,
1:43PM, Wed. Mar. 11, 2009
After the Voter ID debate last night/this morning, here come the press releases explaining why this saves/damns democracy in Texas.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst was first out of the gate on post-vote statments. Rather than taking the opportunity to explain why he decided to briefly put down the gavel to take part in the vote, he instead praised Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, for "preserving the integrity of one person one vote."
While the debate was still roiling, the Republican Party of Texas railed against the Democrats' "childish rants ALL DAY AND ALL NIGHT LONG!" (because using bold is so very, very mature.) They then pleaded that supporters watch "brief video from a handful of our Republican activists." But before that, any chance of a campaign contribution?
Texas Democratic Party Chair Boyd Richie simply condemned the GOP for using this non-issue to indulge in "destructive partisanship over preserving the most fundamental cornerstone of our democracy."
The full statements after the breaks.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst's press release:
The very foundation of our democracy rests on preserving the integrity of one person one vote, so we must do everything we can in Texas to ensure each vote cast is legal," Lt. Governor Dewhurst said. "I congratulate Senator Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay) on passing this legislation out of committee, moving Texas one step closer to a more secure voting system that will help us prevent voter fraud and instill greater confidence among all Texans that their vote counts."The Republican Party of Texas fund-raising missive:
Senate rules required Lt. Governor Dewhurst to temporarily step down as presiding officer during the meeting of the Committee of the Whole, but he exercised his right within the rules to cast a rare vote on legislation, voting yes on Senate Bill 362. The Senate Committee of the Whole passed SB 362 by a vote of 20 ayes to 12 nays.
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.The Texas Democratic Party response:
Hundreds of concerned Texans showed up as early as 7:00am on Tuesday morning expecting to provide oral or written testimony on this important issue. Unfortunately, the response from Democrat Senators was not very welcoming.
That's right! Rather than taking time to listen to personal testimony on incidents of voter fraud in past elections, these Democrats chose to delay with their childish rants ALL DAY AND ALL NIGHT LONG!
In fact, as we are writing this message some Texans are just now providing their testimony. The hearing was scheduled to start at 9am yesterday, but the first public witness was not called until 6:45am this morning. That's 24 hours after arriving at the Capitol yesterday morning.
We have a brief video from a handful of our Republican activists who waited, and waited, and waited to provide their testimony to the Senate yesterday.
Before you watch the video though can you take one quick action?
Texas Democrats have shown absolutely no shame in their unprincipled opposition to Voter ID legislation. Yesterday's despicable delays are likely just the beginning.
Will you make a special emergency contribution to The Republican Party of Texas right now? We are working literally day and night to support our GOP officials as they push for Voter ID requirements in our Texas elections.
Texas Senate Republicans began the legislative session on a bitterly partisan note, doing away with the venerable two-thirds rule in order to ramrod photo Voter ID legislation through that formerly bipartisan deliberative body. Last night and through this morning, our Senators heard nearly 24 hours of testimony featuring overwhelming evidence that voter impersonation is virtually nonexistent and that photo Voter ID legislation would disenfranchise countless Texans. In spite of this, the Senate "Committee of the Whole" approved the voter suppression bill with a vote along party lines. With this vote, Senate Republicans chose destructive partisanship over preserving the most fundamental cornerstone of our democracy. Instead of choosing to move Texas forward by addressing the real issues, Senate Republicans want to throw our state in reverse, back to the era of poll tax. We remain hopeful that our State House members will rise to the challenge of seeing this bill for what it is – bad legislation for all Texans."