Tuesday, May 15, 2007

texas democrats block voter id bill

In the Texas Senate, the Democrats hold 11 seats. 21 senators must agree to bring a bill up for consideration, so the Democrats can effectively block legislation if they vote as a bloc.

But they also have to have their votes counted.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst tried to pull a fast one today, when the Senate was voting on the Voter ID Bill (HB 128). One Democratic senator wasn't on the floor because he was ill, and another that was there didn't even get his vote counted.

When the vote total, 19-9, was announced, chaos ensued, according to the Houston Chronicle.

[The Democrats] revolted after the original 19-9 vote was revealed, loudly arguing that Sen. John Whitmire was on the floor but his no vote wasn't counted.

"Right is right. Wrong is wrong. You tell the man I have a right to have my vote counted," Whitmire growled at his Republican colleagues. He later slammed his fist on his desk, prompting Dewhurst to threaten to kick him out of the chamber.

"You're going to compose yourself or you're going to leave the floor," the Republican lieutenant governor said.

Dewhurst insisted that he had given Whitmire plenty of time to cast his vote and resisted Democrats' calls for a re-vote. But he eventually agreed to conduct another vote, insisting it wasn't going to change the outcome.

But by that time, the Democrats were able to vote as a block, with ill Sen. Carlos Uresti returning to the chamber and Sen. Whitmire's vote being tallied (plus another Republican making it to the floor), and the legislation was blocked by a vote of 20-11.

No comments: