Texans Now Required To Show Photo ID Before Voting

AUSTIN (AP) – Governor Rick Perry signed a measure Friday that requires Texans to show photo identification before voting, making the bill into law surrounded by conservative lawmakers who have been fighting for such a requirement for years.

Perry declared voter ID a legislative emergency at the beginning of the session, and its passage marks a major Republican victory in a partisan fight spanning several legislative sessions.

Republicans say the law is necessary to prevent voter fraud and make elections fair. Democrats say it will do the exact opposite, by keeping minorities and the poor away from the ballots and boosting conservative voter margins.

“This is what democracy really is all about,” Perry said. “It’s the integrity of every vote; that every vote counts. Today we take a major step in protecting the most cherished right of Americans.”

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said history shows that voter turnout increases when there is a photo ID requirement at a poll because citizens feel like their right to vote has been protected.

The law would require voters to present a valid state or federal photo ID. A driver’s license, personal ID card, military ID, passport or concealed handgun permit is acceptable.

Those expected to require new IDs are mostly people who have religious objections to having their picture taken or have lost their IDs in a natural disaster

Voters without IDs could cast provisional ballots but would have to show identification within six days for their votes to count. The state can issue free IDs to be used specifically for voting if someone doesn’t have one of the accepted forms of identification.

“We just wanted to make sure that when someone steps into the voting booth, they are who they say they are,” said Republican Sen. Troy Fraser, the Senate sponsor of the legislation.

The law, which goes into effect Jan. 1, makes illegal voting a second-degree felony and attempted illegal voting a state jail felony.

With a 101-49 supermajority in the House and 19-12 majority in the Senate, Republicans knew this was their year to win the fight.

At least eight states have strict photo ID requirements, according to a late 2010 study by the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Texas bill is modeled after similar laws in Georgia and Indiana, and Republicans predict it will survive any legal challenges.

“This is a big day for voter integrity in Texas,” Speaker of the House Joe Straus said.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


One Comment

  1. YRofTexas says:

    When I lived in Plano in the early 1980’s, I voted often in local & general elections. In those early years, I had been asked to provide my driver’s license along with my voters registration card. The somewhere along the way, they relaxed the locations to vote, and the voter could now vote COUNTY-WISE… anywhere in the county, and that the VR card was sufficient.

    The voting clerks began to disregard my driver’s license and focused on just the voter’s registration card. I thought it seemed a bit insecure, so I just moved along.

    When this new law now REQUIRED a government ID, I thought “wasn’t this already in place?”. I guess there were inconsistencies in how the voting was being conducted all along.

    I believe this is a good measure. I’m just surprised that this wasn’t firmed up in the law in the first place…way before now.

  2. Salty1 says:

    This is the exact same law that during the previous legislative session the Dumots performed their “chubbing” tactics that held a gridlock on our legislature and many important bills could not get considered, their far left antic’s are the reason the GOP has taken control and rightfully so….. no ID no vote, seems very straight forward to people with common sense and the legal citizens of this state…

  3. Ryan Barrows says:

    I’m a Democrat and think it makes sense to have a photo I.D. . They poor and the minorities need to get out and get an I.D. it’s not that hard, unless your illegal, then you shouldn’t be voting anyway. I’m poor I still have an I.D.?? Anyone could just find a voters card laying around and and go and vote?

    Only think I agree on about Rick Perry, and probably be the last thing. He needs to go otherwise and retire and fast.. Lets turn Texas Blue….

    1. Hemroidious says:

      You mean turn Texas Blue like California or New York? Perry is disliked by Democritics because he has the huevo’s to make the right decisions whether he is liked or not. I used to be a Democritic until I saw how shallow and thoughtless they are.

  4. NiteNurse says:

    i always thought it was odd that I wasn’t asked for some sort of photo ID to vote. It’s such an important legal task that we do.

  5. callen says:

    Once again, Gov Perry and the GOP exercise BIG GOVERNMENT to control the poor and disadvantaged. Come on, who thinks an illegal would stand in line to vote with election police everywhere around? This measure only has ONE purpose: perpetuating GOP control over every man, woman and child in Texas. A long, long time ago Texas was free. Not anymore. So sad. So sad.

    1. Hemroidious says:

      What is sad is your lack of good judgment and common sense. So sad. So sad.

  6. Hemroidious says:

    It will make it harder for the Democritics to load up those buses from homeless shelters. They will have to pass out more than just voter cards now.

  7. Vera says:

    I do the early voting in Tarrant county and they always ask for ID. I just don’t see what the big deal is. Give’m your driver’s license and move on.

  8. Lyn says:

    a VALID photo i.d. my grandmother who voted until she died at the age of 101 didn’t have a photo i.d. as she had given up driving long ago. this will affect many elderly people. if photo i.d. is a requirement, then they should be issued free of charge. and regarding the comment about loading buses full of homeless people to vote…having a home is not a requirement to be a citizen of the United States. we all have the right to vote. do you feel the same way about buses of church goers who go to the polls after sunday service or the buses of the elderly from nursing homes.

    1. YRofTexas says:

      My hubby had ALL of his id’s destroyed by former roomates when he landed up in the hospital with a major stroke. They thought he was going to die, so they tossed (and stole) his id.
      When it came time to get his SSDI, the social worker was able to get his Social Security Card, Medicare Card firmed up. But he had no other forms of id’s.
      When I moved him to Texas, we were able to get him an ID card – looks like a drivers license, but is for Identity only. We had to provide a birth certificate and his Social Security card.
      So now when he votes, he has a Legally recognized Photo ID and his Voters Registration Card.
      That’s how we took care of his situation.

  9. darrell says:

    this will have a negative impact on a very small number of texans who may be older, or poor. most of those can be overcome prior to the bill going into affect with a little community action or relatives getting off their tired butts and helping them take care of it.

    key phrase in the bill is “Governor Rick Perry signed a measure Friday that requires Texans to show photo identification before voting”. to be a texan you have to have a “legal right” to live in and be a citizen in the state of texas. not a citizen of china, indonesia, canada or mexico.

    its to insure that “Texans” decide who represents them or makes the decisions on the ballot in texas. not the 2 million plus people who have no right to be here, vote here, use county and state facilities, drive, or any other activity within the state of texas.

    its about time, get over it.

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