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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

After Supreme Court Decision, Photo ID Now Required To Vote In Elections In Texas: Update- NC Moving ID Bill Also

By Susan Duclos

Texas is immediately taking advantage of the today's Supreme Court decision that struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act as unconstitutional, which designated which parts of the country must have clearance from the federal government or federal court before making changes to their state's voting laws.

(Supreme Court decision embedded here)

Via Dallas News:

With the Supreme Court suspending the mechanism that forced Texas to get a federal OK before it can implement any election law change, state Attorney General Greg Abbott asserts that nothing now can stop the state from activating its controversial voter ID law.

“With today’s decision, the State’s voter ID law will take effect immediately,” Abbott announced. “Redistricting maps passed by the Legislature may also take effect without approval from the federal government.”

Laughlin McDonald of the ACLU, on a call with reporters, conceded that Texas has “a very strong argument” that in light of today’s Supreme Court decision, it can implement the Voter ID law and other laws that previously required federal approval.

The Texas Department of Public Safety has announced that starting Thursday, “Photo identification will now be required when voting in elections in Texas.”

Starting Thursday, Texas driver license offices will begin issuing photo IDs to anyone who doesn’t already have one. Under the 2011 state law creating one of the nation’s most strict voter ID laws, the certificates are free and valid for six years. To qualify, an applicant must show U.S. citizenship and Texas residency. The required documents are listed here to verify U.S. citizenship and identity.

Voters only need that document if they lack a current Texas drivers license, personal ID card or concealed handgun license; U.S. passport or military ID or citizenship certificate with photo.
In order to avoid the accusation of some type of "poll tax" which is what the Obama administration claimed as a reason to deny Texas the right to implement required voter ID for elections,  the Texas Department of Public Safety announced it will begin processing applications for free voter ID cards this week.

The IDs are free and will be available to voters who do not yet have a viable form of ID, such as a driver’s license, a concealed handgun license, a passport or military ID. Applicants must go to a DPS driver’s license office to apply and show proof of citizenship. The IDs can only be used to vote, and are not acceptable forms of personal identification for other purposes.

The acceptable forms of ID that can be used in Texas to vote in elections is listed at

In 2011, the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 14 (SB 14) creating a new requirement for voters to show photo identification when voting in person. While pending review within the judicial system, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Shelby County v. Holder, which effectively ended all pending litigation. As a result, voters are now required to present an approved form of photo identification in order to vote in all Texas Elections.

This requirement is effective immediately.
Here is a list of the acceptable forms of photo ID:
  • Texas driver license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
  • Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS
  • Texas personal identification card issued by DPS
  • Texas concealed handgun license issued by DPS
  • United States military identification card containing the person’s photograph
  • United States citizenship certificate containing the person’s photograph
  • United States passport
With the exception of the U.S. citizenship certificate, the identification must be current or have expired no more than 60 days before being presented for voter qualification at the polling place.

Procedures for Voting

When a voter arrives at a polling location, the voter will be asked to present one of the seven (7) acceptable forms of photo ID. Election officials will now be required by State law to determine whether the voter’s name on the identification provided matches the name on the official list of registered voters (“OLRV”). After a voter presents their ID, the election worker will compare it to the OLRV. If the name on the ID matches the name on the list of registered voters, the voter will follow the regular procedures for voting.
If the name does not match exactly but is “substantially similar” to the name on the OLRV, the voter will be permitted to vote as long as the voter signs an affidavit stating that the voter is the same person on the list of registered voters.
If a voter does not have proper identification, the voter will still be permitted to vote provisionally. The voter will have (six) 6 days to present proper identification to the county voter registrar, or the voter’s ballot will be rejected.


Voters with a disability may apply with the county voter registrar for a permanent exemption. The application must contain written documentation from either the U.S. Social Security Administration evidencing the applicant’s disability, or from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs evidencing a disability rating of at least 50 percent. In addition, the applicant must state that he or she has no valid form of photo identification. Those who obtain a disability exemption will be allowed to vote by presenting a voter registration certificate reflecting the exemption. Please contact your voter registrar for more details.
Voters who have a consistent religious objection to being photographed and voters who do not have any valid form of photo identification as a result of certain natural disasters as declared by the President of the United States or the Texas Governor, may vote a provisional ballot, appear at the voter registrar’s office within six (6) calendar days after election day, and sign an affidavit swearing to the religious objection or natural disaster, in order for your ballot to be counted. Please contact your county voter registrar for more details.
Voter ID opponents oppose voter ID laws as if minorities are somehow incapable of going to get their free voter ID's so they can vote in elections. Voter ID proponents insist that making voters show photo ID to be allowed to vote in elections which determine who represents their state or the country, will limit the amount of voter fraud perpetuating in local and national elections.

Voter Fraud Statistics:

There is no doubt that the Obama administration will still challenge new voter ID laws, but now they can no longer do so using section 4 or 5 of the Voting Rights Act, after section 4 was ruled as unconstitutional and section 5 was dependent on section 4.

[Update] -NC voter ID bill moving ahead with Supreme Court ruling

Other states are expected to move voter ID laws in light of the Supreme Court ruling.