Voter ID's Sails Will Lose Wind in House

House Dems eager to stick a fork in voter ID bill

Was the 24-hour marathon Senate hearing on Troy Fraser's voter ID bill worth it? Perhaps not, if ultimate passage was the goal, because Dallas Rep. Rafael Anchía – the Democrats' point man on the issue – thinks Senate Bill 362 is dead on arrival in the House. (Now, if the goal was scoring political points, maybe.)

"I don't think the Senate bill is going to pass the House," Anchía told the Chronicle. "That is the worst kind of voter ID bill that you could send on over. That bill will definitely disenfranchise seniors and people with disabilities and ethnic and racial minorities. I worry very little that that bill is going to go anywhere in the House. They sent over a pretty stinky piece of legislation."

SB 362 passed a Senate "committee of the whole" last week 20-12 (with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst voting); it was expected to easily pass the Senate on Tuesday (as this issue went to press) and then go to the House. While Republicans had the votes to pass SB 362 in the Senate (albeit only after changing the Senate's "two-thirds" rule to do so), the House is tougher: Republicans only hold a precarious 76-74 edge there.

"Senator Fraser's bill is such a bad bill that there are probably a handful of Repub­lic­ans who won't vote for it either," Anchía said. "I also think that the chair of the House Com­mit­tee on Elections [Todd Smith, R-Bedford] doesn't think much of the bill. That being said, he's probably going to work on his own bill to send on over. And until I see that, I don't know what its prospects for passage will look like."

As for the possibilities for voter ID generally: "The other bills that have been filed in the House are also bad bills, so I don't think you're going to have a majority of House members supporting those either. Effectively, they're the same as the Mary Denny bill from 2005 and the Betty Brown bill from 2007. In some cases, they're even worse than those bills. ... We're going to endeavor to kill any voter ID bill."

A March 12 poll by the University of Texas' Department of Government found that 69% of Texans support voter ID but also indicated they may not know the issue so well – 42% believe that photo ID is already required to vote.


For the full Anchía interview, go to austinchronicle.com/legeland.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Voter ID, Troy Fraser, 81st Legislature, Rafael Anchía

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