The Trib is reporting on a bill that recently passed the House which would prohibit “Vote Harvesting,” which evidently is Tea Party lingo for collecting mail in ballots. The above quote is attributed to Gene Wu, who, along with Sylvester Turner, became the major opponents of this measure. The House voted 86-41, mostly along party lines with TWENTY FIVE no shows.
The bill would make it a Class A Misdemeanor to collect more than 10 absentee ballots. Just for comparison, a kid who wants to help out a dozen seniors cast their ballots would face a more severe punishment than a drunk driver. The bill provides an exception for the Military, but not for Seniors or the disabled. I wonder if that has anything to do with what political party each of those demographics overwhelmingly support? Probably.
I find this bill to be one of the most offensive things the legislature has done all session. You see, I had to go through all of the drama of joining the absentee voting community this past year, so I know all the ins and outs of it. Absentee voters can be divided into three different categories: the disabled/elderly, the military and (non-military) out-of-county residents. The out-of-county (fellow Texpatriates) usually don’t need any assistance bringing their ballots to the mailbox, and the law specifically deals with the military as well. That leaves us with the elderly and disabled. The whole reason they vote absentee in the first place is that THEY HAVE TROUBLE WITH MOBILITY. It isn’t exactly a piece of cake for them to take their ballot to the local post office all by themselves. If it were, they would just go to the local elementary school and vote. Accordingly, someone else usually takes the ballots from these people to be mailed.
If the Supreme Court doesn’t strike preclearence, this will be probably be axed, though. Still hoping on the Senate Dems to block it.