Texas' voter ID bill stalled by Democrats

The Fort Worth Star-TelegramMarch 22, 2011 

AUSTIN — Republican supporters of a high-priority voter identification bill sought to regroup from an embarrassing setback Monday after Democrats forced the measure from the House floor on a point of order.

The bill, which seems assured of eventual passage in the Republican-dominated Legislature, will likely return to the House by midweek after supporters patch up technical mistakes in committee. But the maneuver nevertheless gave Democrats a symbolic victory as they seek to stall the measure.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Patricia Harless, R-Spring, would require people to show a photo ID to vote. A slightly less stringent version of the bill has passed in the Senate.

Gov. Rick Perry has designated voter ID as one of several emergency measures that he wants to fast-track through the 140-day legislative session, which is at the halfway mark. Republicans say their constituents are demanding the bill to ensure election integrity, but Democrats contend that it would disenfranchise poor and minority voters.

After a review, the House parliamentarian accepted the point of order by Rep. Armando Martinez, D-Weslaco, who cited an obscure discrepancy between the language in the bill and an accompanying analysis of the legislation. One of the documents said voters would be given six business days to verify provisional ballots while the other called for six calendar days.

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