From the Office of State Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 26, 2011
CONTACT: Daniela Santoni
(512) 463-0120
(281) 536-7114

DEMOCRATIC AMENDMENTS TO VOTER ID LESSEN RESTRICTIONS

(Austin, TX) — Today, the Texas Senate approved SB 14, the Voter ID bill. Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa released the following statement.

"Protecting the voting process is important, if not vital, to a working democracy. However, it is widely known that voter impersonation is virtually nonexistent in this state. Naming a phantom issue like Voter ID an emergency item ahead of the budget deficit means we are not identifying out priorities.

"The two-thirds rule was suspended for Voter ID and there was no doubt in our minds that the bill would pass tonight. Though we could not stop the bill, we efficiently used the amendment process to diminish and thwart the bill's most restrictive and damaging provisions.

"It's important that our constituents receive the proper information on how to obtain a free identification card for the purposes of voting. Through amendment nine I made sure this information is available to voters until September 1, 2017, not 2013 as the original bill stipulated.

"Increasing participation is important, and I introduced amendment eighteen to reduce the restrictions of SB 14, by making Concealed Handgun Licenses an acceptable form of identification for voting purposes. If Concealed Handgun Licenses are good enough to bypass security at the Capitol they should be a good enough identification to vote. I'm disappointed that other forms of ID, like a government employee ID or school ID were not included in the bill.

"The bottom line is that different euphemisms and different names are used to camouflage provisions that have the real intent of suppressing voter turnout. In Texas we have approximately 13 million registered voters and Voter ID has the potential to discriminate against 3 million voters - mainly minorities.

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