An. editorial .he le g 4t 5. Vote in 5exaJ The number of obstacles that are to exist between the Texas voter and the ballot box will be a key concern of the next session of the Legislature. There are signs that, despite the demise of the poll tax, qualifying to vote in Texas may be a needlessly cumbersome process perhaps even more so than under the old poll tax system. A subcommittee appointed by the Legsonal visit to the tax collector’s office \(or the office of the one of his full-time a voter registers. Re-registration would be necessary each year, to be handled by mail in a way similar to renewing a driver’s license. If a voter failed to register one year during the prescribed period, he would have to reappear in person beNo volunteer deputies would be able to registration certificate or forgot to take it to the polls with him would not be allowed to vote. At present such a person can vote after signing an affidavit that he is qualified. It is not clear whether a voter who lost his registration certificate would be able to get a duplicate before be filed on a permanent card and compared with his signature at the polling older than 60 living in towns of less than Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Democrat, which in turn incorported the State Week and Austin ForumAdvocate. We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of man as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and. never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. Editor and General Manager, Ronnie Dugger. Partner, Mrs. R. D. Randolph. Associate Editor, Greg Olds. Business Manager, Sarah Payne. Associate Manager, C. R. Olofson. Contributing Editors, Elroy Bode Bill Brammer, Larry Goodwyn. Harris Green, Dave Hickey, Franklin Jones, Lyman Jones, Larry L. King, Georgia Earnest Klipple, Al Melinger, Robert L. Montgomery, Willie Morris, James Presley, Charles Ramsdell, Roger Shattuck, Robert Sherrill, Dan Strawn, Tom Sutherland, Charles Alan Wright. Staff Artist, Charles Erickson. Contributing Photographer, Russell Lee. The editor has exclusive control over the editorial policies and contents of the Observer. None of the other people who are associated with the enterprise shares this responsibility with him. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not them 10,000 population, who are now not re quired to register, would no longer be exempted from the qualification proceedures. Evidently, whatever new registration process is adopted will first go into effect for the 1968 elections; Texas voters are now registering for 1967 under a stop-gap process set up by the legislature earlier this year when the poll’ tax was ruled unconstitutional. MEMBERS OF THE subcommittee, headed by State Sen. Tom Creighton, have spoken of reducing the risk of fraudulent registration and voting. But the seem far too troublesome, even considering the possibilities of fraud. The elimination, in particular, of three past practices that have worked well is deplorable. A voter who is qualified but has lost or forgotten his registration certificate should be permitted to swear out an affidavit that he is qualified. But if this cannot be agreed to, then a voter who loses his certificate should be able to get a duplicate issued to him. Persons who are older than 60 and live in towns smaller than 10,000 should be exempted from the registration procedure; this is considerate of older voters and obviates an unnecessary hardship on them. Volunteer deputies should be permitted to reg selves written, and in publishing them the editor does not necessarily imply that he agrees with them, because this is a journal of free voices. Subscription Representatives: Arlington, George N. Green, 416 Summit, Apt. 41, CR 7-0080; Austin, Mrs. Helen C. Spear, 2615 Pecos, HO 5-1805; Corpus Christi, Penny Dudley, 12241/ Second St., TU4-1460; Dallas, Mrs. Cordye Hall, 5835 Ellsworth, TA 1-1205; Denton, Fred Lusk, Box 8134 NTS, 387-3119; Ft. Worth, Dolores Jacobsen, 3025 Greene Ave., WA 4-9655; Houston, Mrs. Shirley Jay, 10306 Cliffwood Dr., PA 3-8682; Lubbock, Doris Blaisdell, 2515 24th St., Midland, Eva Dennis, 4306 Douglas, OX 42825; Snyder, Enid Turner, 1706 Glenwood, EM 6-2269; San Antonio, Mrs. Mae B. Tuggle, 531 Elmhurst, TA 6-3583; Cambridge, Mass., Viotor Emanuel, Adams House C112. The Observer is published by Texas Observer Co., Ltd., biweekly from Austin, Texas. Entered as second-class matter April 26, 1937, at the Post Office at Austin, Texas, under the Act of March 3, 1879. Second class postage paid at Austin, Texas. Delivered postage prepaid $6.00 a year; two years, $11.00; three years, $15.00. Foreign rates on request. Single copies 25c; prices for ten or more for students, or bulk orders, on request. Editorial and Business Offices: The Texas Observer, 504 West 24th St., Austin, Texas 78705. Telephone GR 7-0746. Change of Address: Please give old and new address and allow three weeks. ister voters. None of these practices has proven open to fraud on any remotely significant scale. It is quite questionable that these conveniences for the voters should be done away with. Of course permanent registration would be more convenient and practical than annual registration. Such a method is not subject to fraud, as the experience of many other states has proven for years. It would be devious to argue that Texas voters were expressing themselves as favoring annual registration when they voted for Amendment No. 7 last month. The amendment, as listed on the ballot, referred only to the abolition of the poll tax, an abolition that had already been achieved by the courts. How many Texans were unaware that annual registration would be automatically instituted by a vote against keeping the poll tax? In the absence of permanent registration, however, the mail-out procedure of re-registration does seem to be a logical method. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, in an editorial generally favoring the proposed plan, has noted another weakness. Voters recently approved an amendment that will permit newcomers to the state to vote for President and Vice President after only 30 days in the state. Some means must be provided for registering such voters, the Star-Telegram says, then going on to add: “Why not at the same time provide for later registration of those who meet the residential requirement? Why bar citizens from participating in elections simply because they have not met some arbitrarily set deadline [Jan. 31] ? If an election campaign quickens the voting interest of some otherwise apathetic citizens, isn’t that one of the purposes of campaigns? “Most other states permit the registration of voters up until a few weeks before an election. It does not present any insuperable difficulty in the holding of elections. We think it a better system, and simply because it has not been done in Texas in the past is no reason it cannot be done now. . . .” said the Star-Telegram. THE PROPOSALS by the subcommittee lay the foundation for some more finagling by the Legislature with the state election code, which has been reshaped every other year, in one way or another, since 1957. There was the Pool bill aimed at Ralph Yarborough, to require a runoff in that special Senate election; moving the primary election dates up two months for the benefit of Lyndon Johnson’s 1960 Presidential aspirations; the “little Pool bills,” requiring runoffs in special Congressional and Legislative elections; and, in 1965, the provision for annual registration once the poll tax was done away with. Let the Legislature in 1967 act with less circumspection in setting up Texas voter registration procedures. Let the people vote! THE TEXAS OBSERVER Texas Observer Co., Ltd. 1966 A Journal of Free Voices A Window to the South 60th YEAR ESTABLISHED 1906 Vol. 58, No. 23 7cg ” December 9, 1966
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