House Voter ID Language Released

Anchia not impressed by "compromise" bill

Anchia: Voter ID bill
Anchia: Voter ID bill "needs some work" (photo by Lee Nichols)

House Elections Committee chair Todd Smith has released a draft of what he hopes will be a compromise bill on voter ID.

After doing a quick read of the bill, some differences between Troy Fraser's version that passed the Senate include:

• provisions for voter education on the new ID requirements
• training for poll workers
• a report to the Lege on what demographic groups are affected
• language specifying that there is no guarantee that a provisional ballot will be counted
• the law wouldn't take effect until 2013
• the creation of signature verification committees that would check affidavit signatures against registration records
• the bill would not take effect unless the Lege appropriates $7.5 million to fund voter registration efforts

I just talked with Rep. Rafael Anchia, the Democrats' point man on the issue, and he said that while he would need time to digest the bill and get more details, his cursory reading on the House floor left him feeling it was "fraught with errors" and "needed some work."

The bill would seem to violate one of the four principles that 50 Republican members said would be necessary for their support, a demand that it "take effect at the next possible uniform election date" – I suppose it depends on how they interpret "next possible."

UPDATE: I just asked Elections Committee member Linda Harper-Brown, R-Irving and one of those 50 signatories, about the 2013 starting date and she said that was "too late. It just shouldn't take that long to roll this out."

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