Some Senate Republicans Kill Voter ID

House Elections Committee Chairman Tommy Reynolds did not call a meeting today because he said he thought the House bill would eventually head to negotiations. So a Senate bill that included photo ID also died.

Reynolds and Senate Elections Committee Chairman Terry Burton said the Senate committee could have stripped portions of the House bill that Republicans don’t like (older voter exemption, early voting, same-day registration, etc.) and sent the bill back to the House for more work.

Burton, R-Newton, said he can’t believe he was “ambushed” by his own committee.

Reynolds, D-Charleston, said the chance of election reform this session is now “slim to none.”

“We gave it a good-faith effort,” he said of a recent six-hour debate on the House floor that resulted in the bill’s passage.

Democrats and Republicans are accusing the voter ID-killers of wanting to keep the issue alive for the 2011 statewide elections. Some of the “killers” have been mentioned as possible candidates, and suspicions abound that they either want to keep voter ID as a “wedge issue” or have it addressed in a statewide referendum.

According to a House Republican, most of the GOP members in that chamber “think the senators who killed the bill did so for selfish purposes.”

“We are pretty furious with Sens. Fillingane, Hewes and Flowers,” he said. “Rightly or wrongly, House Republicans feel ‘dumped on’ by these three senators, and there is real resentment to the way this thing came down.”

GOP Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant issued a statement later that said he also opposes early voting. It was the strongest statement he’s issued on the subject.

Natalie Chandler Blog
Clarion Ledger
3/4/9