Voting Restrictions Prevent Former Speaker Jim Wright from Obtaining Voter ID

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This weekend, former U.S. House Speaker Jim Wright was denied a voter ID due to the new voting restrictions.

Speaker Wright, who is 90 years old, applied for voter identification with the two convenient IDs that he has: an expired driver's license and a Texas Christian University faculty ID card. The Department of Public Safety refused to issue him a card, as neither of his forms of identification qualify under the new law.

Unfortunately, Speaker Jim Wright isn't the only individual who has faced undue burdens on the way to the polls this year. Individuals who are unlikely to have current photo IDs or access to their birth certificates, like elderly or low income Texans, may be unable to apply for an ID card.

Read more about how this formerly unconstitutional law is affecting voters after the jump.The voter ID law was supposedly crafted to crack down on voter fraud, but the restrictions seem to be another Republican solution without a problem grounded in reality. Greg Abbott tweeted this weekend:

However, despite what Abbott and Secretary of State John Steen may believe, there have been several cases of qualified voters being denied voter ID. Although no imaginary illegal vote bandits have been caught at the polls, many Texans have had problems getting the documents that qualify them for a photo ID. Recently, an elderly woman in Lufkin was denied a voter ID three times.

Former Speaker Jim Wright was hopefully able to recover his birth certificate and make another visit to the DPS office on Monday in time to vote on Tuesday. However, not every Texan will be able to locate or be reissued the documents necessary to receive an ID.

On Monday, U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey issued a statement on the roadblocks that Speaker Wright and others have encountered due to the voting restrictions this year. He said:

I am appalled to learn that former U.S. House Speaker Jim Wright, a man who has dedicated a lifetime of service and contributions to Texas and the nation, was denied a voter ID card in Texas, this weekend.  Speaker Wright dedicated his career to opening doors and fighting for equality for people of all races, religions, political backgrounds and affiliations. And now he is the latest victim of Texas' strict voter identification law…. This is yet another example of how the strict Voter ID law will place an undue burden on many Texans and result in fewer eligible voters casting ballots. I believe that we should be making it easier for Texans to exercise their right to vote, not more difficult and I will continue to stand up for the right to vote.

So far, Sen. Wendy Davis, Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, Greg Abbott, and an untold number of Texans have had to sign affidavits at the polls because the name on their ID does not match the name they used to register to vote.

Are you prepared to cast your vote tomorrow? Avoid falling into the Texas GOP disenfranchisement obstacle course by making sure you have an approved ID. According to the Secretary of State, that includes:

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

Natalie tweets from @nsanluis.


About Author

Natalie San Luis

Natalie is a native Texan, a feminist, and a writer, focusing on reproductive justice, race, and pop culture. When she's not writing (and sometimes when she is), she's brewing beer, drinking beer, and reading stuff on the Internet. Her work has been featured on The Huffington Post, xoJane, The Billfold, Culturemap, and E3W Review of Books. She tweets from @nsanluis.

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