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.
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
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.