In Texas, our politicians work so hard to disenfranchise voters that they almost disenfranchise themselves. In unexpected irony, Wendy Davis is not the only gubernatorial candidate who has to sign an affidavit to verify their identity.
Greg Abbott's campaign spokesman Matt Hirsch told the San Antonio Express-News yesterday that Greg Abbott would need to sign one too because his name is substantially similar, but does not appear exactly the same way on the state's voter rolls as it does on his identification card. Abbott's name is listed as Gregory Wayne Abbott on his driver's license, while in the voter registration file he is listed as Greg Abbott, his spokesman explained.
However, thanks to Wendy Davis, Greg Abbott and others will still be allowed to vote because of an amendment Davis added to the Voter ID law which provides voters the opportunity to sign an affidavit to verify their identity. When the bill was being debated in 2011, the State Senator provided the amendment for voters whose names appeared slightly different on their ID than what was on the voter roll. Without the Davis amendment, the Voter ID Law would have pushed away even more already marginalized voters in droves. It also would have also turned away our State Attorney General, one of the most adamant supporters of the Voter ID law who is ready to spend millions of taxpayer funds to keep it in place.
“If it weren't for Wendy Davis' leadership, Greg Abbott might have nearly disenfranchised himself,” said Davis spokesman Bo Delp.
Read how Greg Abbott and his team will spin this below the jump.While Abbott and other conservatives will say his example proves equal application of the law and that voters will not be intentionally disenfranchised, we know this isn't the case. Under the Texas Voter ID law, low-income voters, people of color, trans* people, students and seniors still disproportionately lack the identification state law requires them to have. Abbott signing an affidavit does not make up for the many who won't even make it to the voting booth in the first place because they lack the required identification.
Burnt Orange Report and others around Texas have reported extensively how the Voter ID law has created complications for people at the polls. However, don't let signing an affidavit intimidate you, it's there to confirm your identity. Read Senator Davis' original amendment to the Voter ID law below:
If in determining whether a voter's name is on the list of registered voters the election officer determines that the voter's name on the documentation is substantially similar but does not match exactly the name on the list, the voter shall be accepted for voting as otherwise required by this section if the voter submits an affidavit stating that the voter is the person on the list of registered voters.
This amendment provides security, so no matter how frustrating this may seem, please do not let this discriminatory system prevent you from voting. It's going to take all of us to change it, which means we all need to do our part and vote. Here's the official rule on name-change from the Secretary of State's website:
“As long as the names are substantially similar, all a voter will have to do is initial to affirm he or she is the same person who is registered” said Secretary Steen. “Poll workers have been trained to account for names that might be substantially similar but not an exact match due to a number of circumstances including the use of nicknames, suffixes, and changes of name due to marriage or divorce.”
…”A voter without an approved form of photo ID will have the option to vote provisionally” said Secretary Steen. “A provisional voter will then have until the sixth day from Election Day to go to the county voter registrar to present an approved ID.”
Many Texans already have an approved form of photo ID. The seven forms of approved ID are:
– 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 at the polling place. For more information about voting in Texas, including the requirements of photo ID, visit www.VoteTexas.gov.