Texas Senate Democrats have been wary from the start about the state’s new Republican-backed voter ID laws. Their wariness grew this week when they pressed officials to explain why promised voter ID mobile units have yet to appear on Texas streets and got a jumbled non-response just a month and a half before Election Day.
The bloc of Democratic senators had demanded the Secretary of State and the Department of Public Safety get more of the ID-issuing vehicles on the road. “There’s been no movement a week later,” reports the Texas Tribune:
[blockquote]After trying to get the two offices to agree on how to do it — and to do it quickly — [Austin Democratic Senator] Kirk Watson said late Tuesday that it “appears to me it is a breakdown on both ends” …
Alicia Pierce, spokeswoman for the Secretary of State, said nothing has been scheduled for September yet, but dates were in the process of being “finalized” …
So far, only 279 [IDs] have been issued. A federal trial over the state’s voter ID law, now underway in Corpus Christi, claims that as many as 787,000 people in Texas are eligible to vote but cannot because they do not have proper photo ID.[/blockquote]
Republicans in Colorado tried and failed for years to pass stricter voter ID laws. They also strongly opposed the new election administration law passed here last year. That law was championed by subsequently recalled Pueblo Democratic Senator Angela Giron. It extended registration periods and made mail ballots universal in the state. It is likely to expand voter participation by thousands.
Democrats, most credible elections analysts and a series of judges presiding over recent challenges to voter ID laws around the country have argued that the new proposed voter ID laws translate in practice to voter disenfranchisement. They point out that the only kind of fraud the new ID laws prevent is polling place voter impersonation, which is statistically non-existent, but that hundreds of thousands of real and honest voters will as a matter of fact be turned away from the polls because they lack the kind of IDs required under the new state laws. It also happens that the vast majority of the voters who will be turned away belong to Democratic-leaning demographic groups — young people, ethnic minorities, lower-income Americans.
[ Image: Texas Gov. Rick Perry via ThinkProgress. ]