|Subject: Tuesday's Hearing on S.B. 14l|
|From: "Meghan Ashford-Grooms" <email@example.com>|
|Date: Fri, 04 Feb 2011 13:20:06 -0600|
|To: Meghan Ashford-Grooms <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
Dear Mr. Bonnet:
My name is Amber Hausenfluck. I am the Deputy Legislative Director for Senator Van de Putte. She asked that I forward her response to your email. Please find it below.
Deputy Legislative Director
Senator Van de Putte, R.Ph.
January 31, 2011
Dear Mr. Bonnet,
Thank you for your apology, but please tell your wife that I was in no way offended by your testimony. In fact, I was impressed with your knowledge and demeanor during the entire discussion.
It was not my intention to disrespect you by seeking clarification on some of the voter suppression stories I had read about after the 2008 election. I simply wanted my colleagues to be aware of the unintentional consequences a piece of legislation, like S.B. 14, could have upon Texans. I never intended "devious nuns" to be the "catch phrase" of the evening news.
Again, thank you for your kind email. I truly appreciate your service to your state and the insight you brought to mine regarding voter ID.
Leticia Van de Putte, R.Ph.
Dear Senator Van de Putte:
My wife read an account of my response to your questions at the Committee of the Whole photo-ID hearing on Tuesday and insisted that I immediately contact you to apologize if I appeared to be surly or disrespectful. She also asked me to think about my remarks when we attend mass this Sunday. I certainly wish to apologize to you and your colleagues if appeared to be disrespectful. My mission and intention was to answer your questions, not make news – nor make light of the difficult deliberations the Texas legislature is undertaking.
The story of the Nuns from St. Joseph County seems to have taken on a life of its own. I looked at my files today and note that the incident (from Indiana’s 2008 Primary Election) was described in the complaint filed by the Indiana League of Women Voters in their challenge to Indiana’s law. The incident was among several investigated and deliberated by the trial court which dismissed the INLWV’s challenge, the Indiana Court of Appeals, which reversed the trial court and finally by the Indiana Supreme Court, which set aside the Indiana Court of Appeals and affirmed the Constitutionality of Indiana’s in-person photo-ID voting law (see additional information below).
On reflection and review of the records, I have to say that while I still tend to believe certain reports, that the elderly nuns were not actually intending to vote in the primary election that day, but were in fact, “rounded up” – perhaps even disturbed from their retirement and convalescence, for the purpose of making an example, I do not believe that the ladies were intending to be “devious”. Sadly, I fear that they may have been “used”, perhaps unknowingly and unwittingly to create a partisan spectacle. The poll worker involved (herself a nun) was simply following the law in requiring a photo-ID and offering provisional ballot voting in the alternative. Had the convent been registered as a state-licensed nursing facility, in-person voting by the resident nuns would have been allowable without presentation of a photo-ID.
From the standpoint of my office’s post-election follow up, my understanding and position was that the though the nuns certainly did not have current Indiana driver’s licenses and may not have had valid photo IDs, in any event, they were entitled to vote by provisional ballot, or vote by absentee-by-mail ballot, or vote with the in-person assistance of a traveling election board personnel, or be entitled to a free state-issued photo ID (available at state offices which are open on election day), if they did not have the means to pay the agency fee.
I also wanted to note that in Indiana anyone, including clergy members, judges, public officials or even movie stars must show a government issue photo-ID to board a commercial airplane, make a retail purchase of packed alcoholic beverages or vote in person on election day.
Thank you again for your courtesy and hospitality.
Truly yours and best wishes,
Jerold A. Bonnet, General Counsel,
Office of the Indiana Secretary of State
Indiana Supreme Court Opinion (Indiana League of Women Voters v. Rokita):
3 The plaintiffs' complaint makes the following allegations: (1) the Voter ID Law prevented or discouraged an indeterminate number of citizens from voting; (2) the votes of 32 persons who did not produce the requisite pho-to ID were not counted in the 2007 municipal election in Marion County; (3) the votes of 12 nuns who did not pro-duce the requisite photo ID were not counted in the 2008 primary election in St. Joseph County; (4) the Law has prevented an indeterminate number of citizens from voting whose requisite photo ID was lost or stolen or who for-got to bring their requisite photo ID to the polls; and (5) the Law has discouraged or dissuaded an indeterminate number of citizens from voting because of its "extra-constitutional requirements." Complaint ¶¶ 17–20; Appellants' App'x at 13–14. None of these allegations creates any basis for a declaration that the State may not require any voters to identify themselves at the polls using photo ID. Some of these allegations, if substantiated, may entitle specific voters to more tailored relief, but none has been sought in the plaintiffs' complaint.
Indiana Trial Court Ruling (Indiana League of Women Voters v. Rokita):
Complaint filed in Indiana Superior Court (Indiana League of Women Voters v. Rokita):
Local account of the Nun story the day after the Indiana 2008 Primary Election: