Senator Rodney Ellis today released a statement on scheduling Voter ID legislation for immediate debate on Monday, January 24, 2011
“We have a $27 billion budget deficit, nearly 9 percent unemployment, and an initial budget which proposes draconian cuts that will devastate our schools, worsen our health care crisis and lead to nearly 100,000 lost jobs. Texans are hurting and are worried about how they are going to keep their homes and pay their bills yet this unnecessary, partisan bill is the top priority for the session?
“If we are going to have this debate, however, then we must provide Texans with comprehensive reform that truly improves the integrity of the vote, breaks down barriers to our democracy. I will offer improvements to the Voter ID bill to ensure Texas voters know that this state not only encourages them to vote, but will also protect their right to do so. My amendments will:
* designate every statewide election day as a state holiday, including primary election day.
* allow eligible residents to register for voting during the early voting period at polling locations as long as the eligible resident provides certain documentation.
* create criminal penalties for certain deceptive or disenfranchising practices regarding an election.
* allow eligible residents to register for voting on election day at polling locations as long as the eligible resident provides certain documentation.
* allow registered voters to vote by mail during the early voting period.
“This session we have real problems that require real leadership. The people of Texas want us to work on those issues, not focus on narrow, partisan games. Voter ID is not an emergency and should not be our first priority.”