NPT Capitol: House GOP bloc worried about Voter ID bill? UPDATED
The Republican Party of Texas released a statement applauding a statement made by 52 Republican representatives committing to core principles they want included in voter ID legislation.
Those principles are: 1. Ensure a valid photo identification is needed to vote, 2. Take effect at the next possible uniform election date, 3 Be free of any registration requirements such as same day voter registration that dilutes the intent of the bill, which is ensuring fair and accurate elections, and 4. Increase criminal penalties for voter fraud and registration.
NPT had orginally interpreted the statement as a position of weakness – that only 52 Republicans were on board with the language and the Republican leadership was conspicious in its absence from the list of signatories. However the Texas GOP released a new list on Wednesday which took the number of signatories up to 71 – including Chairmans Branch, Kuempel and McCall (Calendars) and just 5 shy of the majority needed to get it passed.
Far from being a position of weakness, the revised list looks rather formidable. Voted ID now looks set to be the showndown issue of the session. But they will need to get 76 votes – meaning if Dems are universally opposed to he measure, they would only need to flip two Republicans (from either the 71 or the 4-plus-Speaker-Straus not signed up to the GOP list) OR flip one and put Speaker Straus in a position of breaking a tie vote.
Read NPT’s old analysis and the first GOP press release after the jump
1 Of the 52 signatories, only two (Charlie Geren and Burt Solomons) are from the “Anyone But Craddick” bloc of Republicans, (others being Tommy Merritt, Delwin Jones, Jim Pitts, Byron Cook, Jim Keffer, Joe Straus, Ed Kuempel, Brian McCall and Rob Eissler) all of whom are committee chairs and effectively constitute the House Leadership. Other Republican Chairs not on the list are Frank Corte, Todd Smith (House Election Chairman), Dennis Bonnen, Lois Kolkorst.
That’s 14/18 Republican chairs not signed up. Does that represent a split between the House Republican Leadership and the foot soldiers on the floor?
2 Why send the letter? The bill is a sensitive issue as well as a passionate one. Best to not be a sore winner if things are going your way on the issue – keep schtum. But with the House so evenly split, compromise with Dems (something the ABCs know all about) will be needed in order to pass a voter ID bill – such compromise might be seen by some (say, 52) as attacking the integrity of the bill. Hence, perhaps, the need for a public statement of demands.
House Republicans don’t have the votes for the Senate Voter ID bill as-is and are worried that in order to pass it, too much will need to be given up. Read the full letter after the jump.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Texas GOP Applauds House Republican Caucus Members’ Statement of Principles on Voter ID
AUSTIN—The Republican Party of Texas applauds the following Texas House Republican Caucus members for their statement of principles concerning Voter ID legislation pending before the House:
Statement of Principles on Voter ID
“We are closely monitoring the Voter ID bill and are fervently committed to advancing a Voter ID bill.
Our principles concerning what the bill must contain are clear, this bill must:
1. Ensure a valid photo identification is needed to vote
2. Take effect at the next possible uniform election date
3. Be free of any registration requirements such as same day voter registration that dilutes the intent of the bill, which is ensuring fair and accurate elections.
4. Increase criminal penalties for voter fraud and registration
We are all strongly encouraging Chairman Todd Smith and the other Representatives on the Elections Committee to present a bill which protects the integrity of the electoral process, is fully implemented at the next possible uniform election date and ensures a reasonable period of advanced registration to allow voter registrars the time to protect the integrity of the registration process as well.”
Aycock Jimmy Don
Button Angie Chen
Callegari William A.
Driver Joe L.
Geren Charlie L.
Hancock Kelly G.
Isett Carl H.
Jackson Jim L.
Lewis Tryon D.
Morrison Geanie W.
Orr Rob D.
Shelton Mark M.
Solomons Burt R.
Swinford David A.
Webber Randy K.