Wednesday, July 24, 2013

How Much did Senate Railroading Cost?

The abortion-outlawing legislation passed and all the hoopla is over.

Believe it or not, we can actually put a price on the railroading that took place in the State Senate.

We've previously spotlighted the Senate Parliamentarian, Karina Davis, here and here.  Thanks to the fact that she is a public employee her salary is available for us.

According to the state, Karina Davis' annual salary is $122,592.12.

Of course, I'm sure the benefits of shredding Senate rules go even farther.  Not only does Davis get $122,000 annually, she has given herself tenure.  How can Senate Republican justify firing her after she ?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Who does a better job on voting rights: Texas or Canada?

When Republicans in Texas passed their Voter ID law we looked at how much a lie that was with their claims of protecting the right to vote or making sure nobody who isn't eligible to vote is voting.  We examined our neighbors to the north, Canada, and its Voter ID law.

Just a reminder, the only forms of ID allowed by Texas are:
  • Texas driver license issued by DPS
  • Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS (good for only 6 years)
  • Texas personal identification card issued by DPS
  • Texas concealed handgun license issued by DPS
  • U.S. military identification card containing the person's photograph
  • U.S. citizenship certificate containing the person's photograph
  • U.S. passport
7 forms.

Just a quick refresher, Canada allows 3 options for showing Voter ID.  Under Option 1 you have 3 choices.  Under Option 2, you have between 13 and 325 possible combinations to prove you can vote.  Under Option 3, someone who knows you (and is an authorized voter) can vouch for you.

In terms of actual ID, Canada allows between 3 and 325 ways to prove you can vote.

So what is the point of this refresher?

Today in Canada, specifically the province of Nova Scotia, the election authority changed some voting procedures.  From the CBC:
In a bid to increase voter turnout, Elections Nova Scotia is increasing the number of days people will be able to cast their ballot in the next general election.

“You'll be able to vote on almost any day during the four weeks before Election Day,” said Dana Doiron, director of policy and communications at Elections Nova Scotia.

Voters will be able to vote on all but four days in the next campaign, not just in the advance and special polls and on election day.

It’s one of many changes Elections Nova Scotia is implementing.

There will now be polling stations in hospitals, shelters, prisons and nursing homes...
See in Canada, prisoners have had the vote since 2002.

But there are at least 2 people in Canada who are not allowed to vote: the head of Election Canada (i.e., Canada's top election supervisor/authority) and the deputy of Elections Canada.

To reiterate, the person who is in charge of running the elections and his/her deputy are not allowed to vote.  For us that would be like the Texas Secretary of State and his deputy.  The person in charge of making sure the elections are run right, can't vote.

It's an interesting concept.  What better way to ensure the elections are free and fair?  Most likely the person who is appointed head of Elections Canada is probably very civic minded.  He or she can't vote, but would very much like to.  They can't vote, so they make sure other voters are not denied the right they don't have.

Imagine if we had a rule in Texas, Governor Rick Perry, as the head of Texas, and the Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, as the deputy head of Texas, aren't allowed to vote as long as they hold either of those offices.  Wonder if either one would suddenly value the right to vote?

Friday, July 5, 2013

The When Will Question, Part 1

All week, NPR has been focusing on Texas and our demographics and asking that question of If and When Democrats will become a force again in Texas politics.

So we thought, putting demographics aside, what signs or omens should Democrats look for to know that they have the ability to capture statewide office?

Sign 1: Sweep of all countywide offices in large voting counties.