Tuesday, December 3, 2013

How Texas’ Voter ID Law Could Lead To Six Hour Delays On Election Day

A provision of Texas’ new voter ID law could delay the amount of time required for hundreds of thousands of Texans to cast a ballot, forcing hours of delays at polling places across the state. Indeed, a ThinkProgress analysis of figures provided by the Dallas Morning News suggests that Texas voting precincts could require nearly six additional hours to process voters caught by this law in 2016.

In Dallas County, Texas, nearly 14,000 voters were delayed when attempting to cast a ballot, thanks to Texas’ new voter ID law. And that was in a low-turnout election last month where only six percent of the state’s registered voters turned out. In a presidential election year, nearly ten times as many voters are likely to turn out, likely resulting in ten times as many delays. In total, the voter ID law could force thousands of hours of delay spread across the many voting precincts in Texas.

The origin of this problem is a provision of Texas’ law that requires voters to sign an affidavit testifying that they are who they say they are if the name on their ID does not exactly match the name in the voter registrar. Indeed, this provision casts such a wide net that both state Sen. Wendy Davis, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate, and her likely Republican opponent Attorney General Greg Abbott were delayed from voting because of disparities between their ID and their registered name. Davis’ driver’s license reads “Wendy Russell Davis,” while she is registered as “Wendy Davis.” Abbott’s license says his name is “Gregory Wayne Abbott” while he is registered as “Greg Abbott.”

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