Press Release from the Office of State Senator Craig Estes, District 30

For Immediate Release
March 11, 2009
Contact: Jody Withers
(512) 463-0130

State Senate Committee of the Whole Passes Voter ID Bill

Austin — The Senate Committee of the Whole approved Senate Bill 362 Joint-Authored by State Senator Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls) to require voters to present proof of their identity when casting ballots during Early Voting or on Election Day.

"This measure is intended to protect the integrity of our elections, and to protect the rights of registered voters by insuring that every vote cast is a legal vote," said Estes.

Under Senate Rules, the 31 members of the Texas Senate resolve to act as the Committee of the Whole Senate to consider legislation in a public hearing with invited and open testimony. Bills or resolutions passed by the Committee of the Whole must still be taken up and considered by the full Senate to move forward through the legislative process.

"This is the first step in passing a voter identification requirement," said Estes. "I look forward to seeing this bill again before the full Senate for final passage before sending it over to our colleagues in the House."

Texas law already provides for requiring photo identification if a registered voter does not provide their voter registration card, but is listed on the list of registered voters.

Senate Bill 362 would require all voters to present a photo identification such as a drivers license or military identification card. If a voter does not have a valid photo identification, then presenting two forms of alternate identification such as a current utility bill or other documents provided by a governmental entity with the voter's name and current address would be accepted.

Senate Bill 362 also provides that voters without a valid photo identification may obtain without charge a state issued personal identification card for the purpose of presenting proof of identification.

"The public must have confidence that those serving in office at the local, state, and federal level are there by virtue of a legitimate democratic process," added Estes.

Senator Estes is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Affairs, and represents Senate District 30 covering Archer, Baylor, Clay, Collin (part), Cooke, Denton (part), Grayson, Jack, Montague, Parker, Palo Pinto, Shackelford, Stephens, Throckmorton, Wichita, Wilbarger, Wise, and Young counties.