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April 19, 2005

Texas House considering voter-ID bill

The Austin American-Statesman has a familiar story which could have written itself. The Texas House is considering a bill that would require voters to present a state-recognized ID before being allowed to vote. This is an outstandingly reasonable requirement, one intended to make it much harder to vote in someone else's name.

Opposition to the bill is based on two strategies. First, is simple contradiction.
Representatives of several organizations representing minorities, senior citizens and poor people stood on the south steps of the Capitol on Monday contending that Denny's bill would not address voter fraud.
No word on how the bill fails to address voter fraud.

Second is the "ism" strategy — that is, raising the specter of racism, ageism, classism, etc.
The bill would, however, make voting difficult for disadvantaged groups, who are disproportionately without documents necessary for legal identification, such as birth certificates, they said.

AARP is opposed to the bill because it amounts to a sort of poll tax on people who would be forced to go through several steps to produce the proper identification, Gus Cardenas, the president of the Texas chapter, said Monday.

"This conjures up a really bad memory (of poll taxes) for me," said Rep. Alma Allen, D-Houston, who is African American. "This is just another excuse to keep people out of the voting system."
Of course, the second strategy, although the logic behind it is without significant merit, is the most compelling, which is why it keeps being used.

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