Texas Judge Almost Blocked From Voting Due To New Voter ID Law   Leave a comment

Well, color me shocked…another example of that age-old law of unintended consequences at work, the case here being that requiring voter ID has led to hundreds of thousands of Texas voters being all-but-disenfranchised from the voting booth. Quoting:

A Texas district judge who has been voting for the past five decades wasalmost barred from the polls Tuesday, thanks to the state’s newly implemented, stricter voter ID law. The law kicked in on Tuesday as early voting in Texas’ November 5 election began.

As she told local channel KIII News, 117th District Court Judge Sandra Watts was flagged for possible voter fraud because her driver’s license lists her maiden name as her middle name, while her voter registration form has her real middle name. This was the first time she has ever had a problem voting in 49 years. “What I have used for voter registration and for identification for the last 52 years was not sufficient yesterday when I went to vote,” she said.

Watts worried that women who use maiden names or hyphenated names may be surprised at the polls. “I don’t think most women know that this is going to create a problem,” the judge said. “That their maiden name is on their driver’s license, which was mandated in 1964 when I got married, and this. And so why would I want to use a provisional ballot when I’ve been voting regular ballot for the last 49 years?”(Think Progress)

The problem here, as Think Progress points out in their article, is that because the Texas law requires people to have ID that matches their voter registration info, people all across the Lone Star State are now having to get new IDs’, in particular women who, if they choose to keep their maiden names or use hyphenated names on their drivers’ licenses or other required forms of ID, may have to get those changed so that they match up with the voter rolls. As the article also points out, she’s not the only one:

Watts is hardly the only woman who has encountered problems. ThinkProgress’ Scott Keyes interviewed 84-year-old Dorothy Card, who was denied a voter ID three times even though she has voted for more than 60 years and provided extensive proof of identity.

While Watts, as an experienced judge, is familiar with the intricacies of election law, the people most likely to be stopped at the polls will be less informed about their rights. Low-income voters, minorities, students and seniors disproportionately lack the required identification — a fact that prompted the Justice Department and several federal judges to block the law under now-defunct provisions in the Voting Rights Act. After public outcry, Texas officials said they would distribute a free voter ID to eligible recipients who applied for one. As of this week, however, just 41 people received free IDs, out of the 1.4 million Texas voters who lack the required documents.(Think Progress)

Voting is a right…it is not a privilege or a civic luxury, it is a right that has been bought-and-paid for with the blood and sweat of Americans over the years and the sooner D.C. stomps on Texas and other states with similar voter-suppression schemes, the better.

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Posted October 23, 2013 by Matthew in Uncategorized

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