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Voter ID Proposal Protested Today

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Monday, February 28, 2011   

AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Legislature is considering a voter ID proposal that may be the toughest in the nation. A state driver's license, passport, military ID or photo-based citizenship document would be the only acceptable proofs for eligibility to cast a ballot. The bill is promoted as a way to assure voter confidence, but several statewide organizations are gathering in Austin today to point out the downsides.

Luis Figueroa, legislative staff attorney with the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund, says resident minorities, people with disabilities, college students, and elders would be at risk of being turned away at the polls.

"Even more troubling is the amount of money and resources that are going to go into this law to address a problem that doesn't seem to be manifesting itself in Texas."

Figueroa says voter impersonation is a rare instance in Texas, or any state, and ID is already required before voting, although not a photo ID.

Anita Privett, vice president of the League of Women Voters of Texas, claims the proposal will discourage legitimate voters by making them jump through another hoop, and it comes at a time Texas voters are already reluctant to go to the polls.

"In this past general election, Texas had the lowest voter turnout of voter-eligible people of any state in the country."

The proposal outlines using Help America Vote Act money to cover some of the costs. The bill contains provisions to help those without one of the four forms of identification get them at no cost, with exceptions in the ID requirement for some of those over the age of 70.


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