So, how difficult is it to get a proposed Texas Voter ID? These are the primary identification – if you use them, you don’t need anything else:
• Texas Driver’s License , Texas Election Identification Certificate, Texas Personal Identification Card, Texas Concealed Handgun License (all from the DPS)
• United States Military Identification Card or United States Citizenship Certificate containing the person’s photograph (from the US military)
• United States Passport (from the State Department)
None of these except the US citizenship certificate can be more than 60 days expired. That means no more expired Driver’s Licenses (even if you don’t drive), no more expired Passports (even if you do not travel anymore). And, of course, all these have requirements of their own that must be met, and fees to pay.
But how do you get these documents to get a Voter ID card? Continue below the pretty orange squiggle...
So, how do you get the simplest ID (TxDL or the Personal Identification Card? You need two of the following secondary identification documents:
• Original or certified Birth Certificate from the State or Federal agency
• Original or certified copy of U.S. Dept. of State Certification of Birth from the appropriate State or Federal agency
• Original or certified copy of court order with name and date of birth (DOB) indicating an official change of name and/or gender from the appropriate State agency
And how do you get a Birth Certificate or a replacement? These are the requirements (from the TX Dept of Vital Statistics website):
If the birth occurred within the past 75 years, you must include a photocopy of your valid photo ID issued by a governmental entity. The following are acceptable forms of ID:So, if you do not yet have a state ID card or Driver’s license, you can’t use that to get a birth certificate. If you don’t have a photo ID, then you must find a copy of an official document with your signature on it, and a utility bill with your name and address on it to get the birth certificate to get your TX ID card so you can register to vote.
• State-issued driver's license
• State/city/county ID card
• Student ID
• Government employment badge or card
• Prison ID
• Military ID
If you do not have a photo ID, you can instead send a copy of the photo ID of an immediate family member, or you can send copies of two documents showing your name, such as a utility bill and your Social Security card. One of the documents must have your signature.
If you’re just moved back to Texas and living with your parents or a friend, I hope you have the utility bills in your name. Too bad if you can’t afford it and want to vote.
And of course, the birth certificate costs money to obtain.
But wait, what about other forms of identification? By Texas law, if you cannot supply two of the above types of ID, here are the supporting identification documents you can use (two of these documents plus one secondary identification document equals one primary identification document):
• Social Security card (actual card), Forms W-2 or 1099, Numident record from the Social Security Administration
• School records, Hospital issued birth record, Pilot’s license (actual card), Insurance policy (e.g., auto, home, life) (valid continuously for the past two years), Medicare or Medicaid card (actual card)
• Military records or Unexpired U.S. military dependant identification card (actual card), Veteran’s Administration card (actual card), Selective Service card (actual card)
• Original or certified copy of marriage license or divorce decree (U.S. jurisdiction or foreign jurisdiction – if the document is not in English, a certified translation must accompany it)
• Texas Inmate ID card or similar form of ID issued by TDCJ, TDCJ parole or mandatory release certificate, Federal inmate identification card, Federal parole or release certificate
• Texas Vehicle title (TRC §521.144), Current Texas vehicle registration, Current Texas boat registration or title
All these cost a fee to obtain, and supporting documents of their own. Add these to the cost of the birth certificate.
In addition, the information on all documents must match. You can see how this might be a problem for folks, especially women, over 60, adoptees, and anyone with a name change for one reason or another (marriage, adoption, personal name change). And if your home community was in a major disaster, the records may no longer exist. For folks above 60, these records aren’t always kept on a computer – one massive fire and they’re gone.
But the problem is more widespread – take a peek at your credit report. Chances are your name is spelled differently between the credit cards and credit reporting agencies. If you presented ID with those differences, that could (by law) knock you out of easily getting a voter ID. No voter ID, no vote. And guess what, additional documentation may be required to verify conflicting information, incomplete names and date of birth. I hope you have a unique name that isn’t misspelled constantly.
Then you need to have an office close to you (in your community), transportation to get to that office (which may cost you), and the stamina and will to fight for your ID. And you can’t do everything by mail, since you must be photographed, fingerprinted, and provide your signature at the time of application.
Now can you imagine the folks that are impacted by these requirements? In the US, every citizen is entitled to their vote. These requirements throw too many roadblocks to allow many folks to vote. How right is this?
So far, I’m seeing these folks impacted:
• Elderly (records too old or missing)
• No car (no vehicle registration, no existing license, no transportation to the office)
• No military service (no gov’t military records
• Poor/underemployed (can’t afford the fees, or the cost of transportation to get to the office, or can’t take off work that long)
• Young (no Medicare or Medicaid records)
• Never travelled outside the US (no passport, which requires fees)
• Shifted schools during youth (multiple, missing, or confusing school records), not attending college (no school ID)
• Never been to prison (no prison records)
• Not in a county with a Texas DL office, or not close to one (81 counties do not have a DL office, and lack of public transport or a car means you can’t get to one)
If you’re elderly, no car and never been in the military, how many of these records do you think you can gather? If you’re poor, no car, no job, no military, too young for Medicaid or medicare, shifted schools until you finished high school, not in college, and never been in prison, how many of these records do you think you can gather?