Voter ID bill passes Senate along party lines

Melissa Ayala

Lawmakers in the Texas Senate voted 19-11 in favor of voter ID on Wednesday along party lines.

Amendments adopted include providing English and Spanish versions of education materials, allowing the use of photo IDs that have expired within the past 60 days, permitting the use of concealed carry permits as valid ID and requiring the state to pay for implementation of the voter ID bill.

A proposed amendment by Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, to grant free birth certificates to voters who show proof of their impoverished status in order for them to obtain free voter IDs, failed to be adopted.

“If we don’t adopt an amendment like this, my fear is we are simply instituting a poll tax in a different form,” Davis said.

An amendment that would have asked the secretary of state to help determine the impact of voter ID laws affecting certain demographics was also rejected.

“This [voter ID bill] is a major change. All of us would be naive to try and argue it is not going to have an impact on turnout — it will,” said Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston. “It’s going to have an impact on how many people are able to vote.”