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Texas New Voting ID Requirements

ID Vote (500 x 358)Early voting for the November 5th election began on Monday, October 21st.   While there are nine amendments up for consideration in Texas this time, the main thing I see in the media and news feeds is the new requirement for photo id’s in order to vote.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 34 States have some form of Voter ID laws, with 20 of those States requiring a photo ID.  Yet it seems that everyone is focused on Texas’ requirement.  Some of the articles and blog posts I have seen border on being comical.  They are so riddled with false information and void of any facts.

Here are a few facts from  www.votetexas.gov .

 Q.My name on my approved photo ID does not exactly match my name on my voter registration card. Can I still vote?

A.  Election officials will review the ID and if a name is “substantially similar” to the name on their list of registered voters, you will still be able to vote, but you will also have to submit an affidavit stating that you are the same person on the list of registered voters.

Q. What does “substantially similar” mean?

A.  A voter’s name is considered substantially similar if one or more of the following circumstances applies:

1.  The name on the ID is slightly different from one or more of the name fields on the official list of registered voters.

2.  The name on the voter’s ID or on list of registered voters is a customary variation of the voter’s formal name.  For  example,    Bill for William, or Beto for Alberto.

3.  The voter’s name contains an initial, middle name, or former name that is either not on the official list of registered voters or on the voter’s ID.

4.  A first name, middle name, former name or initial of the voter’s name occupies a different field on the presented ID document than it does on the list of registered voters.

In considering whether a name is substantially similar, election officials will also look at whether information on the presented ID matches elements of the voter’s information on the official list of registered voters such as the voter’s residence address or date of birth.

Q. Does the address on my photo identification have to match my address on the official list of registered voters at the time of voting?

A.  The new requirement makes no determination on voter address matching criteria; therefore, there is no address matching requirement.

Qualified voters who do not have an approved photo ID can obtain one free at their local DPS office.  For more information visit http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/DriverLicense/electionID.htm.

There are also mobile stations that will be set up in all of the major counties that have a high minority and low income populations, such as Harris County,  Bexar County, Tarrant County and El Paso County.  To find a list of those visit  http://www.votetexas.gov/election-identification-certificate-mobile-stations .

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