The law was passed by the state’s Republican-led legislature in 2011. It immediately became one of the strictest photo ID laws in the country. And the law has been in and out of courts ever since.
According to civil rights attorney Chad Dunn, the courts ruled that the law is discriminatory.
“There is some considerable evidence that it was adopted with the purpose to prevent certain voters from voting,” Dunn says.
He says judges ruled the Texas law made it harder for minorities to vote. That’s why the state was forced to change the law before the presidential election. As a result, voters without one of the seven photo IDs required by the state now have some wiggle room. They can present alternative forms of ID — like a voter registration card. And Dunn says they just have to sign a document saying they had trouble getting a Texas photo ID.
“And if they have an impediment to getting an ID — a reasonable impediment to getting an ID — they shouldn’t fear at all coming into a polling location and filling out a declaration and casting that full ballot they are entitled to,” Dunn says.
A federal judge ordered the the state to communicate these changes to voters. And that’s where things have hit a snag: The state is accused of using language that doesn’t stress that people without a photo ID can now vote.
From the state’s website: “Voters who cannot obtain one of the seven forms of approved photo ID have additional options at the polls when casting their ballots.”
Cinde Weatherby, who’s with a local chapter of the League of Women Voters, uses simpler phrasing in her voter handouts. She says if voters don’t have an ID, they’ll still be able to vote. And when asked what the big difference here is, …