Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Who is Testifying at the Senate Hearing on the Voter ID Bill - - - and Who Is Not.

The call out to the public to come to Austin today to give testimony before the Texas Senate on the Voter ID bill, SB 362, currently being considered, was a rousing success. At last count, 120 individuals signed up to address the Senate. At 3 minutes allocated for each, that is 480 minutes of individual testimony.

That’s eight hours.

Minimum (will more speakers sign up yet?).

Plus the minutes spent between speakers.

So the public, intensely interested in this veiled attempt at voter suppression in Texas, in a state that threatens to turn over the majority to Democrats for the first time since 2003, has reacted with the righteous indignation that the bill deserves.

Contrast that to two individuals who will not be showing up to give testimony in this upcoming debate: Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbott, and Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade.

Abbott says testimony represents a conflict as he will be having to defend the law in court when it gets challenged.

Andrade is out of town on a previous commitment.

I guess no one told Hope Andrade that this bill, if enacted into law, will have a singular effect on her office, and her ability to carry out her responsibilities in running the state’s elections. It will be people at the bottom of the Elections tree that will be having to enforce the restrictive Voter ID rules. It will be her people who will turn voters away from casting their votes at the polls.

But Andrade had a previous engagement.

Abbott, I can understand. This sleight of hand that he proffers, that he cannot comment on a bill that he is all set to support in the courts, gives one pause. Does this mean that he doesn’t really support the bill and cannot comment on it because he must do so in court? That would make more sense.

Fact is, Abbott not only supports the bill, he provides the paltry ammunition that is the bill’s reason for being: there is voter fraud in Texas and this bill will prevent that.

Fact is, if he shows his face in the Senate, he will be open to questions from Democrats who will ask what results came of his $1.4 million investigation in voter fraud in Texas. The answer, I hear, is truly embarrassing.

The point is, 120 (or so) private citizens thought it important enough to make their views heard, and probably went out of their way to do so. Getting time off on a workday is not an easy thing to do.

Abbott and Andrade would have been paid to testify.

But, those are the priorities.

Obvious, isn’t it, that there is no chance for this legislation to be defeated in the Senate, huh? Republicans are just biding their time

And ducking their responsibilities.

Nothing new under the sun.

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