We Americans are proud of our democracy. The act of voting — being able to elect our leaders and set our course as a nation — defines the United States at home and in the eyes of the world. But millions of eligible citizens are blocked from the polls, most often by an outdated and error-prone voter registration system. Too many Americans go to vote on Election Day only to find their names are not on the voter rolls — often, wrongly deleted. It’s time to modernize voter registration, bring our system into the 21st century, and ensure all eligible voters have a say in our democracy.
Most Texas high schools are not registering students of voting age at least twice a year, as required by law: http://www.texastribune.org/…/civil-rights-group-call-vote…/
Rep. Celia Israel, who sponsored the measure as a way to boost voter turnout and save the state millions of dollars, pronounced it dead Friday afternoon.
“Texas wants this. The majority of the people on this floor want this,” said Israel, D-Austin, gesturing to her colleagues. “But I can’t get it out of committee because of some partisan election officers from Harris County.”
Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Mike Sullivan, a Republican whose job includes being the county voter registrar, denied that politics played any role in his position. He also denied that officials had organized a unified effort to derail the bill.
Among those from Harris County opposing the bills were Tax Assessor-Collector Mike Sullivan, Ed Johnson of the County Clerk’s Office and Alan Vera, chairman of the Ballot Security Committee of the Harris County GOP.
“Our current system works, and it works well,” said Sullivan, who like the two other speakers from Harris County expressed unease with the security of the state software that would handle registration.
Vera added that online sign-up could make it easier for voters to be impersonated at the polls, saying the “main fuel for voter fraud is registered voters who don’t show up to vote.”
See here for the background. Someone is going to have to explain to me what Alan Vera is talking about, because what he said makes no sense to me. To all those people who say they’re worried about fraud, I have to ask: Isn’t this the stated rationale for passing voter ID legislation? I mean, I could submit a registration request for Mickey Mouse, but unless someone shows up at the ballot box with one of the very few legally accepted forms of photo ID showing that he is in fact Mickey Mouse, what good would it do? I don’t see what the problem is here.
The Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector sent a blanket apology Tuesday to seniors and disabled individuals who might have done a double take this week upon viewing their property tax bills.
Mike Sullivan said the mistake involves an exemption that will impact less than 40,000 of the 900,000 taxpayers who were sent notices.
"It was brought to my attention last night that there was an error on some of those tax bills. Specifically, Houston Community College System taxpayers who have an Over-65 or Disabled Homestead Exemption should have received a $120,000 exemption. Instead they received a $90,000 exemption, the same as last year," Sullivan said on Tuesday.
The Chronicle said that 321,927 renewal notices for April went out with errors. Of that number, 83,541 were sent to the eight-county area surrounding Houston. Nearly 57,000 of those were in Harris County alone. In addition to the billing errors, officials ran into problems with the status of some could not be verified electronically.
Because of the billing errors, some inspection stations continued to charge motorists the state’s portion of the inspection fee which the motorist had to then pay again when they arrived at the Tax Assessor-Collector’s office.