Exempts elderly, disabled
One of the complaints is that some people are just too old to have a photo id; you know, mamma has been in the nursing home for so long she hasn’t had a driver’s license in years and has no other form of photo id. No problem. From the bill, Section 9 amends Section 63.001, Election Code, (h):
(h) The requirements for identification prescribed by Subsection (b) do not apply to a voter who presents the voter’s voter registration certificate on offering to vote and:
(1) was 70 years of age or older on January 1, 2012, as indicated by the date of birth on the voter’s voter registration certificate; or
(2) is disabled and the voter’s voter registration certificate contains the indication described by Section 15.001(c).
Provides for provisional balloting for indigent and for religious objection
Some people in our society do not have photo identification. I know that is hard to believe for most of my friends on the right side of the aisle but it is true. So what do we do about that? If we truly believe that voting is a sacred right, and that individuals should be free to live their lives without photo id if they so choose, how do we reconcile those two seemingly conflicting rights? A couple of ways. First, realize that some people really are too poor to pay for a state issued id card and waive the normal fee, which ranges from $5 to $20 depending upon your age and criminal status. From the bill, Section 20 amends Section 521.422, Transportation Code, (d):
(d) The department may not collect a fee for a personal identification certificate issued to a person who states that the person is obtaining the personal identification certificate for the purpose of satisfying Section 63.001(b), Election Code, and:
(1) who is a registered voter in this state and presents a valid voter registration certificate; or
(2) who is eligible for registration under Section 13.001, Election Code, and submits a registration application to the department.
So that eliminates the “poll tax” question. But let’s face it, not everyone is able to comply with the requirements set forth to obtain a Texas ID card in the first place. Click here for the list of documents needed to obtain a card. But again we run into a problem. If you have been homeless for any length of time, chances are high that you cannot produce a primary, or two secondary, or one secondary and two supporting documents required to obtain a photo id for free. Or, you might belong to a certain religious order that objects to having an image made of you. Obviously, in sheer numbers we are talking about a miniscule segment of the population but they are out there. No worries, SB 14 addresses both of these concerns by allowing the voters to cast a provisional ballot. From the bill, Section 17 amends Section 65.054, Election Code (b):
(b) A provisional ballot shall [may] be accepted [only] if the board determines that:
(1) [,] from the information in the affidavit or contained in public records, the person is eligible to vote in the election and has not previously voted in that election; and
(2) the person:
(A) meets the identification requirements of Section 63.001(b) in the period prescribed under Section 65.0541;
(B) executes an affidavit under penalty of perjury stating that:
(i) the voter:
(a) is indigent and is unable to obtain proof of identification without the payment of a fee; or
(b) has a religious objection to being photographed; and
(ii) the voter has not been challenged or required to vote a provisional ballot for any other reason.
Remember, that is a “provisional ballot”, so don’t think that vote counts just yet. If it did, there wouldn’t be much use in requiring identification in the first place. So, the bill adds a requirement that any person using either of the above methods to vote must return within six days and file an affidavit stating that he or she is indeed the person that cast that vote. From the bill, Section 18 amends Subchapter B, Chapter 65, Election Code, adding Section 65.0541:
Sec. 65.0541. PRESENTATION OF IDENTIFICATION FOR CERTAIN PROVISIONAL BALLOTS.
(a) A voter who is accepted for provisional voting under Section 63.011 because the voter does not meet the identification requirements of Section 63.001(b) may, not later than the sixth day after the date of the election:
(1) present proof of identification described by Section 63.0101 to the voter registrar for examination; or
(2) execute an affidavit described by Section 65.054(b)(2)(B) in the presence of the voter registrar.
(b) The secretary of state shall prescribe procedures as necessary to implement this section.
Sure, the requirement to return and file an affidavit is a pain in the rear but if you believe in one person, one vote and in free and fair elections, then you cannot seriously object to attempts to ensure that one person gets one vote, nothing more and nothing less.
Problems solved. No “disenfranchisement” of anyone. No “poll tax” on anyone. So why did I take the time to list this? And if you’ve made it this far, why did you?
Because we cannot rely on traditional media OR on our own sphere of influence. Sometimes, you just need to look for yourself. And ratchet down the rhetoric. One final thought to make this a really, really long post. This comes from a book by Arthur Simon, brother of former U.S. Senator Paul Simon and might help some of us stop screaming and start listening.
Respect for the Choices of Others
One of the hazards of becoming citizen advocates is that we want everyone else to agree with us. The more deeply we get into an issue and the more emotionally involved we become, the more that desire grows. We want others not only to agree with us, but we want them to actively support the same cause. The temptation arises to feel hurt, impatient, frustrated, or angry when they don’t. These feelings add nothing to our effectiveness or personal well-being, and they reflect a lack of consideration for others.
– Many people are barely able to cope with life’s demands. We need to accept the fact that people who fit this description will not be responsive to our approaches, and they in turn need to feel that our trying to enlist their aid is a gesture of love, not judgment.
– Not everyone feels called to serve through public policy issues.
– Many issues need our consideration, but we can give time only to one or few.
– Not everyone who takes up your issue will agree with you. You have to allow for the possibility, however unpleasant and remote it may seem to you, that they may be right or at least partly right, and that in any case their motivation may be as good as yours.
Have a great week!