Voter intimidation measure blocked…. for now.

From today’s Austin American Statesman:

A clash between Democrats and Republicans over what forms of identification Texans must show to cast a ballot is heading toward a Senate showdown, and an ailing Democrat appears to hold the pivotal vote.

Sen. Mario Gallegos Jr. of Houston, who’s been away from the Capitol most of the legislative session after a liver transplant, showed up in the Senate on Thursday to join a bloc of Democrats opposing the voter ID bill.

Under Senate rules, two-thirds of the chamber, or 21 senators, must agree to bring a bill up for debate. With Gallegos present, the 11 Democrats have enough power to block it.

“We’re 11 strong in unity,” Gallegos said Thursday. He said he planned to be there every day for the rest of the session to help stop the bill. The five-month session ends May 28.

Gallegos said he feels up to being at the Senate for the rest of the month.

<…>The House already passed the measure, which would require voters to show photo identification or two other forms of identification at the polling place. Existing law requires a voter to show only a voter registration card. If he or she doesn’t have the registration card, another form of identification must be shown so the person’s name can be matched to voting rolls.

Supporters say the proposal is intended to prevent noncitizens and other ineligible residents from casting ballots.

Dewhurst said he’ll take his first opportunity to pass the bill.

He said that the identification requirement is not a burden and that people must show photo IDs to board a plane, rent a car or buy some types of cold medicine.

Little King Dewhurst is in no position to know what is a burden to the average Texas citizen,  and certainly not in touch with the voters this legislation would suppress.


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