Texas Senate Passes Voter ID Bill

Staff Report
The Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Republican leaders have scored their first major legislative victory of the 2011 session with passage by the Texas Senate passage of a bill to require Texans to present a photo ID before being allowed to vote.

The legislation passed the Senate along partisan lines after the majority Republicans shot down one Democratic amendment after another.

One exemption was for certain disabled people and those age 70 and over. One last-minute change both sides could agree on in the pro-gun Texas Legislature: A provision adding a concealed weapons permit as a valid form of identification.

Republicans say tougher voter ID laws are needed to prevent fraud. Democrats say the effort is designed to boost GOP margins by keeping Democratic-leaning voters, less likely to have ID, away from the polls.