Texas’ Voter Suppression Law Denied Former House Speaker the Right to Vote

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Former U.S. House Speaker Jim Wright (D) was denied a Photo ID for voting purposes in Texas over the weekend by the state’s Department of Public Safety (DPS).

The 90-year old Wright, who is lucky enough to have an assistant to drive him to and from the DPS office, says that while he believes he’ll be able to get an ID in time to vote in this Tuesday’s election, he’s concerned the state’s “unduly stringent requirements on voters” will reduce turnout.

According to the Star-Telegram, Wright’s driver’s license expired in 2010 and — because he no longer drives — he didn’t bother to renew it. That expired license, he learned Saturday, is not good enough to obtain a Photo ID to vote under the law TX Republicans passed in 2011. That law will be in effect, for the first time, on Tuesday. The state statute had previously been nixed just last year by the U.S. Dept. of Justice and by a 3-judge federal court panel after being found discriminatory, in violation of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), as based on statistics supplied by the state itself.

Thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court gutting a key provision of the VRA over the summer, however, Texas announced the law would finally be enforced for the upcoming election.

Wright is hardly the only well known figure to be stung so far by the Lone Star State Republicans’ purposely disenfranchising law. And the hoops that many voters — even ones like Wright, who says he’s voted in every single election since 1944 — must now jump through in order to have a chance at their vote even being counted at all, is remarkable…

Last month in Corpus Christi, for example, 117th District Court Judge Sandra Watts was forced to sign an affidavit when trying to vote early, after the name on her driver’s license didn’t match the one she was registered under. Her driver’s license included her maiden name as her middle name, as once required by Texas law, but her voter registration didn’t. “What I have used for voter registration and for identification for the last 52 years was not sufficient yesterday when I went to vote,” she explained to local media. The name on her license had been the same for 52 years, and she’s voted in every election for the last 49. “This is the first time I’ve ever had a problem voting,” she said.

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