Governments' Lighter Side

Texas voter ID law stymies state politicians

Texas’ strict voter ID law was put in place to prevent fraud, but it may be keeping more than potential cheaters from the polls – namely, high profile politicians.

Former Speaker of the House Jim Wright, 90, was denied a voter ID card because the two forms of identification he carries, — an expired Texas driver’s license and a Texas Christian University faculty ID card — did not satisfy the requirements of the state’s voter ID law, which went into effect in 2011, according to The Huffington Post.

Wright, who The Star-Telegram called a legendary Texas political figure, told the paper he hopes the law is not preventing other individuals from participating in the democratic process, although he fears it is.

“I earnestly hope these unduly stringent requirements on voters won’t dramatically reduce the number of people who vote,” Wright told The Star-Telegram. “I think they will reduce the number to some extent.”

With the help of his assistant, Norma Ritchson, Wright was able to secure an ID card in time to vote in Tuesday’s elections, according to The Weatherford Democrat but he wasn’t the only Texas politician to run into problems.

State Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) was made to sign an affidavit of her identity, because her driver’s license identifies her as Windy Russell Davis, according to The Huffington Post. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott ran into similar issues, which is ironic, since he was one of the laws most vocal supporters, saying it would cut down on voter fraud.

Not everyone agrees. U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, who represents the Texas’ 30th Congressional District, wrote in a Star-Telegram editorial, “Studies have shown that voter fraud is non-existent in Texas.” She argues “The requirement is another way of repressing votes of young people, seniors and racial minorities who vote overwhelmingly for Texas Democrats.”

Johnson says nearly 700,000 registered voters lack an approved ID card.

Discuss this Blog Entry 2

on Nov 6, 2013

Wendy spells her name with an 'e' not an 'i'. and Eddie Bernice is a female not a male.

on Nov 13, 2013

Thanks for pointing out these mistakes! The corrections have been made.

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Derek Prall

Derek Prall is a professional journalist who has held numerous positions with a variety of print and online publications including The Public Manager magazine and the New Jersey Herald. He is a 2008...
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