On Tuesday, Texas Republicans introduced legislation on the state’s voter identification that would apparently curb the current law’s “discrimination” against minority groups.
The legislation was introduced by Sen. Joan Huffman as “Senate Bill 5.” Huffman seeks to implement a more lenient policy toward Texans who cannot “reasonably” acquire one of seven forms of ID necessary to vote at polls.
This new voter ID law would allow voters without photo identification to present documents—such as a utility bill, bank statement, or paycheck—in order to cast a ballot. Election officers would also not be required to question the “reasonableness” of the excuse for not obtaining a photo ID.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, along with 19 other senators, have approved of the bill and deemed it “priority” status. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, the enforcer of the current ID laws, was reportedly also in favor of the legislation, stating it will ensure the “the integrity of the voting process.” Paxton believes the legislation will comply with previous court rulings.
Despite its initial leniency, Huffman’s bill does strengthen the penalties for voter fraud. Those who violate and lie about possessing ID could be charged with a third-degree felony under Huffman’s new law. Such crimes carry penalties of a 10-year maximum prison sentence.
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