A Photo ID Is Now Required to Vote in Texas

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A Photo ID Is Now Required to Vote in Texas

If you have voted in the past in Texas, you may know that simply presenting a voter registration card was adequate proof to be allowed to vote. This is no longer true; a photo ID is now required to vote in Texas. Two years ago the Texas Legislature passed a law that requires any person in Texas to produce a driver’s license or some other form of photo identification in order to vote. However, because of Federal voting rights laws, enforcement of this state law has been on hold.

On Tuesday this changed, when the Supreme Court of the United States made a significant ruling, striking down a portion of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Among other things, this law required several states, including Texas, to get pre-approval from the Federal government before implementing any law concerning voting rights or access. This week’s ruling changes this, and allows theses states to make new laws without Federal pre-approval.

Apparently the State of Texas was prepared for this possible outcome of the Supreme Court ruling, because late Tuesday afternoon the Texas Department of Public Safety issued a press release announcing that effective immediately, photo identification would now be required in order to vote in any election in Texas.

AUSTIN – Pursuant to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling issued today, new voting requirements passed by the Texas Legislature in 2011 will take effect immediately. Photo identification will now be required when voting in elections in Texas.

On June 26, 2013, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will begin issuing Election Identification Certificates (EIC) to individuals who do not already have an acceptable form of photo identification (ID) to present when voting. Applications for the EIC will be accepted at DPS driver’s license offices across Texas.

The state will be making available an Election Identification Certificate for individuals who do not have a driver’s license. It is available to anyone who does not already have another acceptable form of photo identification.

The last two times I have voted, which includes a local run-off election less than two weeks ago, I used my driver’s license to vote, so this does not pose much of a change in routine for me. Some people are worried it might lead to practices from 50 years ago that led to people not being allowed to vote or intimidated from voting. People on the other side of the argument believe it is reasonable to ask for a photo ID which establishes your eligibility to vote, since we have to show a photo ID to get on a plane, to cash a check or (sometimes) to use a credit card.

Personally, I would never want anyone to be denied the right to vote. However, I also think it is an important enough responsibility that we should be willing to make a little bit of an effort to do so. I don’t think twice about it when I am asked in other situations for a photo ID. As long as the state’s new system of obtaining the Election Identification Certificates is reasonable and not burdensome for people who don’t have a driver’s license, then I support the concept. What is your opinion?

Keith is the owner and founder of Owens Investigations.

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