When your Republican-pushed “voter ID” law is snagging people like the former speaker of the House, you may have a problem a bit bigger than actual voter fraud ever was
Former House Speaker Jim Wright was denied a voter ID card Saturday at a Texas Department of Public Safety office.
“Nobody was ugly to us, but they insisted that they wouldn’t give me an ID,” Wright said.
Wright, who is now 90, had only an expired driver’s license and a Texas Christian University faculty ID, neither of which were good enough to prove to the nice state of Texas that he was not just some other
person pretending to be Jim Wright, former Speaker of the Freaking House. (A gun permit, mind you, would have been acceptable.) And while Jim Wright is a former speaker of the Freaking House and therefore has an assistant available to help him jump through the next necessary hoops (obtaining a certified copy of his birth certificate, re-applying at the DPS to obtain the necessary new identification), there are hundreds of thousands of Texans who weren’t and don’t and can’t. No worries, though:
Tarrant County Elections Administrator Steve Raborn said Saturday that people who might find themselves in a similar situation should cast a provisional ballot and obtain identification needed to “cure” it within six days. […]
Raborn's office reached out to people who might have expired driver licenses, such as those who live in nursing homes, to let them know that the license can be expired by no more than two months to be a valid photo ID for voting. […]
They must have proof of citizenship, such as a passport or certified copy of a birth certificate. If a person doesn't have a certified copy of a birth certificate, he or she can go to the Tarrant County clerk's office and get a certified copy for $3 if it is for the purpose of getting an EIC.
Along with the birth certificate, people need to show two other pieces of identification — such as a driver license expired less than two years, a voter registration card, school records, military records or a Social Security card — to get the EIC.
Raise your hand if you think Americans in nursing homes are going to be able to do all that in the six days necessary in order to get their already-cast ballot to “count.” It’d be easier to just get the damn handgun license. (Note to self: Arm all Texas nursing home residents. That’ll make the nurses’ jobs a hell of a lot more interesting.)
And this doesn’t even count the requirement that your current ID match the name in the polling book, a so-called “accidental” effect of the law that just happens to primarily impact married women who have changed their names, or the difficulty in visiting a state office that does not have offices in all state counties.
Given that Texas has had recent outbreaks of voter fraud approximately never, there’s no question that the new law is intended almost exclusively as a vehicle for disenfranchisement. It’s nabbed the former speaker of the house, and it’s nabbed gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, and it’s expected to nab as many as 800,000 other legitimate Texas voters.
It’s a poll tax, plain and simple. Republicans have been trying to keep certain people from voting for decades, i.e. people who might not vote the right way, and it’s not exactly coincidence that the recent Supreme Court decision pooh-poohing the notion that such things happen these days has resulted in an orgy of new Republican laws aimed squarely at making it happen.