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April 30, 2007 (512) 463-0300

COMMITTEE CONSIDERS VOTER ID ACT

(AUSTIN) -- The Senate State Affairs Committee heard testimony Monday relating to a measure that would require citizens to show proof of ID before voting. This bill proved to be highly controversial in the House, with hours of debate before it was passed and sent on to the Senate. Senator Troy Fraser of Horseshoe Bay, who is the Senate sponsor of this bill, said this bill will increase confidence in the elections process. "A worker in a polling place should be able to verify the identity of a voter," said Fraser.

PHOTO
Senator Robert Duncan questions a witness during testimony on the Voter ID Act in the Senate State Affairs Committee Monday. The bill's Senate sponsor, Senator Troy Fraser of Horseshoe Bay, sits to the left.

The bill would require a voter to supply either one form of photo ID or two forms of non-photo ID before voting. If the voter doesn't have identification, he or she could cast a provisional ballot that would be subject to review.

The intent behind the bill is to prevent voter fraud by requiring people to prove who they claim to be, but critics of the bill say it could disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Texans who don't have identification, but are nevertheless American citizens. Especially of concern are minority voters and the elderly, who critics say are more likely to lack the required ID than non-minority voters. "The bill places a burden on minority voters more than other voters in the state," said Jose Garza of the League of United Latin American Citizens.

Lt. Governor David Dewhurst said Monday that he favors a measure that requires voters to prove identity. "I want to see the maximum number of voters vote," he said. "But we ought to know who's voting here in Texas and America." Dewhurst added that he hopes to bring this bill to the full Senate later this week.

The Senate will reconvene Tuesday, May 1, at 8:00 a.m.

Session video and all other webcast recordings can be accessed from the Senate website's audio and video archive pages.

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