With a strong push from Republicans and over the vigorous objections of Democrats, the Senate on Wednesday approved legislation requiring all but elderly Texans to show a photo ID before voting....
In the end, the measure was approved 19-11, with all Republicans backing it and all but one absent Democrat voting no.
Democrats argued that this would be a violation of the Voting Rights Act:
Democrats warned that the bill will run into trouble under the federal Voting Rights Act, designed to protect minority voting rights in several southern states — including Texas — and Alaska, Arizona and some urban areas. Under that law, the U.S. Justice Department must review all changes in election laws in those states.
“This requirement is just a poll tax by another name,” said Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, referring to the now outlawed practice of requiring voters to pay a fee before voting. The poll tax was used to discourage voting by minorities decades ago....
The bill would require Texans to show a driver’s license, state ID card, military ID, concealed handgun license, passport or citizenship ID to vote. An effort by Democrats to include student IDs with photos was rejected by Republicans.
However, Indiana passed a similar law in 2005, and the Supreme Court upheld it, when it was challenged as a violation of the Voting Rights Act.
This law is designed to curb voter fraud. If they have to show identification, it'll make it less likely that people are able to vote more than once, dead people voting through ID theft, and keep illegal aliens from voting.
The Democrats' poll tax argument is no quite on point. The poll tax was a tax only had to be paid when people went to vote. The price that people pay for the ID card will be spent anyway.
People will have to get an ID for many reasons, including getting a job or into college, apply for any sort of assistance from the government, or driving a car. So, the great majority of people will have an ID anyway.
The Senate was the biggest obstacle that this law had before it could be made into law. Now, the bill will go to the House where there is a huge Republican majority and will have no trouble passing. There is, also, no doubt that Governor Rick Perry will sign it into law.