Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Less Votes In Texas On Election Day


Disenfranchisement is the order of the day on Election day in the state of Texas-- thanks to the Supreme Court, which affirmed the Lone Star state's  restrictive voter ID law.  From Zachary Roth of MSNBC:

Lindsay Gonzales, 36, has an out-of-state driver’s license, which isn’t accepted under the ID law. Despite trying for months, she has been unable to navigate an astonishing bureaucratic thicket in time to get a Texas license she can use to vote. “I’m still a little bit in shock,” said Gonzales, who is white, well-educated, and politically engaged. “Because of all those barriers, the side effect is that I don’t get to participate in the democratic process. That’s something I care deeply about and I’m not going to be able to do it.”

Adam Alkhafaji, a student at the University of Houston, turned 18 in September and was excited to vote for the first time. But to prove his residency and get a Texas ID, he needed a residential housing agreement, a birth certificate, and a Social Security card, none of which he had. Overwhelmed with school, he ran out of time. “It’s almost like a milestone in your life: You take your first steps, then you get your driver’s license, and then you exercise your right to vote,” Alkhafaji said. “I’m more than disappointed.”

The majority of the Texans affected by the new voter ID law are minorities.  Catherine Overton, who is 70 and black, moved to Dallas from Las Vegas earlier this year. In a phone interview, she said she wasn’t told about the ID law when she registered to vote. When she went to the polls last week, Overton said she was turned away by a poll worker who told her, “If you’ve been here long enough to get a voter registration card, you’ve been here long enough to get ID.” She said she hoped to go with her sister Monday or Tuesday to get a state ID, then take it to the polls. But because they both have doctors’ appointments, it may not work out.

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