Election Testing Texas' New Voter ID Law

November 5, 2013

 Texas voters will go to the polls today to vote on a slew of constitutional and municipal issues, from funding water projects to granting tax breaks to aerospace companies.

But a deeper question will be how voters adapt to the state's new controversial voter ID law, which was enacted earlier this year and is seeing its first statewide test Tuesday.

The law says voters must have a valid photo ID with a name that matches the name on the voting rolls. Those without ID could still vote using provisional ballots and have six days to return with correct identification.

Texas is one of 34 states that have passed voter ID laws, though not all of have been enacted due to future implication dates or court challenges, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that parts of the Voting Rights Act, particularly the Justice Department's preclearance of state voting practices, were unconstitutional, paving the way for Texas and other states to implement stricter voting requirements.

Supporters of the Texas law say it's a way to ensure the integrity of elections. Opponents say it's a partisan strategy by Republicans to suppress Democratic votes, as it impacts mostly poor, black or Hispanic voters, who tend to vote Democratic. An estimated 5% to 10% of Texas' 13.6 million voters could be affected by the new law.

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