COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE PASSES VOTER ID AFTER ALL NIGHT DEBATE
(Austin) The Senate spent more than 24 hours Tuesday and Wednesday debating a bill that would require Texas voters to prove their identities before casting a ballot.
The measure finally passed the Committee of the Whole Senate about 10 a.m. Wednesday morning. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst praised members for their dedication to fully explore the issue. "We're a little tired, we've been up all night, but I'm really proud of the Senate," he said. "We had two sides, two different points of view, but we had some very good debate, and I'm real proud of where we ended up."
SB 362, by Horseshoe Bay Senator Troy Fraser, would require a voter to present identification at a polling place before voting. In addition to a valid Texas drivers' license, the bill allows for a number of alternate forms of identification, from a passport or other photo ID issued by a government entity, to a recent utility bill or library card.
Voters that cannot show accepted IDs will be permitted to cast a provisional ballot. Opponents of the measure argued that many otherwise eligible voters, especially the elderly or disabled, may be disenfranchised if they cannot secure or produce the proper ID. Supporters argued that the bill is necessary to combat voter fraud in Texas..
The bill will come before the full Senate for initial consideration at Monday's session. The Senate stands in recess until 10 a.m. Friday to read and refer bills to committee, and will meet in full session again Monday at 11 a.m.