Texas' Voter ID Law Hinders Some, Inspires Other Voters to Come Prepared -- and Angry
In one West Dallas neighborhood, roughly 25 to 30 percent of eligible voters do not have a valid photo identification for voting. This area, along with sections near Fair Park, have the highest rates in the city. Yet speaking to voters outside C.F. Carr Elementary School, one of the central voting locations in the neighborhood, voters were, for the most part, well-prepared. And more important, many were more adamant about voting this year because of the voter ID law.
Kameha Brown voted early last week, but says she has had a few friends who were discouraged from voting because they did not have a proper ID.
"I had a friend who came in with the voter registration card, and they said with the new ID law, we cannot let you vote unless you have the ID," Brown says. "It's causing a lot of confusion, and people are getting upset."
Brown says that when she saw the difficulties from the voter ID law, she was inspired to head out to the polls this year and voice her anger. "That's why I came early. I needed to get my frustration out on the ballot," she says. "When you have a registration card, its like proof of ID, so why can't you use it to vote?"
Mark Baker is one of the voting administrators at Carr. He says he has been pleasantly surprised that his site has largely avoided any ID difficulties so far on Tuesday. "Everybody has come in with their IDs in hand," he says. "And the good thing about it is, since the voter ID was in effect, and then not in effect, and now it's back -- I thought the voters would be thrown off by that."
Baker says any anticipated difficulties will likely be with the neighborhood's older population, many of whom possess only expired driver's licenses. "I would think that number is higher because of that older population, people who aren't driving anymore," he says. "One woman came up the stairs slowly, with her walker, but she had that ID. I've been surprised, even with the older group, they've had their IDs in hand.
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But Brown insists that the people she has seen who have had difficulty with the law, as well as her own experience, are just a sampling of the people in Dallas who are not able to vote in this election cycle.
"Sometimes we don't have the money to go get our IDs. My things were stolen from me awhile back, including my ID. If I didn't have help to go get another ID, I wouldn't have an ID right now," she says.
"There are people out here who just don't have it, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't have a voice. We all live here, so anybody who wants a voice should have it, ID or not."
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