Last September I wrote a piece on a bill passed in the US Congress to require photo ID at the polling place in 2008 and proof of citizenship in 2010. I never mentioned what bill it was, nor did I follow up on it.
I’m going to do that here because Vince at Capitol Annex posted yesterday that Phil King (R-Weatherford) has filed another such Voter Suppression bill in the Texas state house.
It was HR 4844 of the 109th Congress, called the Federal Election Integrity Act of 2006. The bill passed with 98% of Republicans voting for it, and 98% of Democrats voting against it. It was sent on to the Senate where it was referred to the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration. There it died.
Now we have HB 626 which requires that voters have a proof of citizenship when registering to vote, and have a photo ID when showing up to vote. Proof of citizenship consisting of: a) a copy of one’s birth certificate or other such proof of birth, b) naturalization papers or c) an unexpired passport.
Back in September, I called such a heinous attempt to suppress the vote a poll tax. It is simply a requirement that a voter lay out some money to be enabled to vote. In that loose definition, it IS a poll tax. Vince makes the same observation in his posting also mentioning the fact that it specifically targets the elderly and poor who may not have the resources to get the paperwork together that are necessary to prove their citizenship.
This is going to be interesting because now, with Democratic majorities in the US House and Senate, we have the possibility of getting some legislation passed that would kill this bill. Last year, two bills introduced in the 109th Congress HR. 247 (Lewis-GA) and SR 53 (Obama) both had wording that “national photo identification requirements for voters should be rejected and that the U.S. Department of Justice should challenge any state law that has what the resolutions refer to as discriminatory photo-identification requirements”.
Something has got to be done about this, and if it is going to take heavy handedness from the federal government to keep voter suppressing states in line, then that's going to be what it takes.