Texas tomorrow becomes the most populous state in the country to attempt to carry out a statewide election requiring all voters to show a photo i.d.
Secretary of State John Steen, who is the state's top election official, says of the more than 200,000 people who cast early votes, he received no indication that anybody was denied the right to vote.
He says there have been cases where people have a different name on their voter registration card as they have on the photo i.d., and he says that has not been a problem.
"Someone will say, those are substantially similar names, and those people are asked to initial a box certifying that they are the same person, and that's it,” Steen said.
But the fact that a disproportionate share of the people whose names don’t match have been women, including high profile Democratic political woman, including Governor candidate Wendy Davis and State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, has allowed the Democratic part to claim that voter i.d. is part of the Republican Party’s ‘War on Women.’
“I guess I should feel fortunate that my Republican friends actually allow women to come in and identify themselves, instead of having their husbands or fathers do it for them,” Van de Putte said.
Women are more likely than me to have changed their name during the course of their lives, generally due to a marriage or divorce, but the problem affects men as well. Attorney General and Republican Governor candidate Greg Abbott also had to ‘check the box’ certifying his identity, because his drivers license reads “Gregory Wayne Abbott’ and his voter certificate reads ‘Greg Abbott.’
“We have not had a single instance where the name issue has prevented somebody from voting,” Steen said.
He says slightly more than 100 people have presented so called ‘Election Identification Cards,’ special cards which were handed out free to voters who don’t have any photo i.d. Republicans say this low number demonstrates that Democratic claims of ‘hundreds of thousands’ of people have been ‘disenfranchised’ by the law. Democrats say the state did a poor job of distributing the EICs.
The latest to weigh in on the issue comments from beyond the grave. Former U.S. House Speaker Jim Wright, who died last month, said he was denied an EIC when he attempted to get one to vote early in the election. But as a person over 70, Wright was 90 at the time, he would have been able to vote by mail, which does not require a photo i.d.