Ex-House Speaker Rejected For Voter ID Card

6:37 PM, Nov 3, 2013   |    comments
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Catalina Camia, USA TODAY

Just how tough are new voter identification requirements in Texas? Apparently tough enough that former U.S. House speaker Jim Wright reportedly was denied a voter ID card on Saturday.

"Nobody was ugly to us, but they insisted that they wouldn't give me an ID," Wright, a Democrat who resigned from Congress in 1989, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in a story about his experience at a Texas Department of Public Safety office.

The 90-year-old told the newspaper he realized last week that he didn't have a valid ID to vote in Tuesday's elections. He was refused a voter ID card because his driver's license expired in 2010 and his faculty identification from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, where he teaches, doesn't meet requirements under the state law enacted in 2011.

Election officials have said voters without a valid photo ID can cast a provisional ballot by signing an affidavit attesting to their identity. That's what Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis and Attorney General Greg Abbott, who are likely to face each other in next year's gubernatorial election, had to do recently. The names that Davis and Abbott use on their driver's licenses don't match the ones that are on the voter rolls.

"I earnestly hope these unduly stringent requirements on voters won't dramatically reduce the number of people who vote," said Wright, who in the early part of his political career pushed to abolish the poll tax. "I think they will reduce the number to some extent."

Wright and his assistant, Norma Ritchson, told the Fort Worth newspaper they will return to the Department of Public Safety on Monday with a copy of his birth certificate.

USA Today

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