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Why it really is about suppressing the vote

Once the voter ID debate shifts over to the House, there will be several bills there for them to consider as companions to SB362. One such bill is HB1414 by Rep. Dwayne Bohac, which is as far as I can tell essentially identical to the Fraser/Estes bill. Bohac has been filing such legislation for several sessions, so this is old hat to him. Of perhaps more interest is another Elections bill Bohac has in the hopper, HB488, which is about eligibility to act as a deputy vote registrar. The key bit from the text:

To be eligible for appointment as a volunteer deputy registrar, a person must be eligible to register to vote in the county served by the registrar [18 years of age or older].

So where today one need only be of legal voting age to register others to vote, Bohac would limit you to registering people in your own county; this would also eliminate any non-citizens from acting as deputy registrars. Want to organize a registration drive? No more importing talent for it. Make do with what you’ve got.

Now, while the case for voter ID legislation falls apart under the slightest scrutiny, the rationale for it is at least understandable. The only rationale I can see for this is to make it harder to register voters. How does that serve the public interest? If you say that ensuring all registrars are citizens is worthwhile, then this bill should simply change “18 years of age or older” to be “eligible to register to vote”. It’s the restriction on registering voters outside of the county in which you are registered that is unnecessary and frankly offensive. Again, the only reason I can see for this is to make it harder to register voters, which in turn will make it harder for people to get registered to vote. That’s the mentality that people like Dwayne Bohac have, and that’s one of the reasons why the push for voter ID is about voter suppression. They want to make it harder, and in doing so make it so that fewer people vote. And last year, in what was possibly the most exciting Presidential race ever, millions of people were prevented from voting thanks to tactics like this. That’s what it’s all about.

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