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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

Ruling to enforce ID law at polls

Early voting begins Monday, and with a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court Saturday, a controversial Texas voter ID law will be enforced for the first time in a federal general election.
The law, which was originally passed in 2011, requires voters to display one of seven forms of identification for the Nov. 4 elections.
Controversy over the law revolves around the concern that the law discriminates against lower income voters who cannot afford the cards.
Francisco Pedraza, assistant professor of political science, said over 600,000 Texas voters, many of which are minorities, could be adversely affected by the decision.
“What is clear is the research that shows voter ID laws disproportionately impact the poor, the elderly and people who live far from a Texas Department of Public Safety office,” Pedraza said. “Among these groups, African Americans and Hispanics are over-represented.”
Pedraza said college students, including those at Texas A&M, may be negatively affected by the requirements in the upcoming elections.
“Government issued photo IDs are not free and many Aggie students, like college students across the nation, are getting by on a personal budget that is spread very thin,” Pedraza said. “The total cost for underlying documents, transportation, and time, plus the $16 to $25 fee to obtain an ID or license in Texas can be a real burden.”
Alicia Pierce, a spokesperson for the Texas Secretary of State office, said the office is obligated to enforce any law passed by the legislature. Pierce said the office is in the process of ensuring that voters remain aware of the identification requirements.
“The secretary of state is working to make sure every voter has all the information they need to pass the ballot, that they’ll have to bring one of seven valid forms of ID,” Pierce said.
Sherry Mashburn, the College Station city secretary, said it reduces the possibility of fraud without disenfranchising certain demographics.
“My opinion is that it doesn’t disenfranchise voters, you just have to bring a photo ID or your voter registration,” Mashburn said. “The law makes sure the person voting is the person on the poll books, I’ve never seen it as an issue, especially in College Station.”
Mashburn said voter awareness in College Station has led to successful past elections under the law, and she expects the same for the Nov. 4 election.
“We had a very successful election last year using the voter ID law because everyone was aware of it,” Mashburn said. “The City of College Station has been trying to get the word out about it so I don’t think this will affect the election negatively in anyway.”
Pedraza said the argument that the law it will reduce voter fraud and increase voter turnout, isn’t substantive.
“The evidence of voter fraud is scant and the states with voter ID laws do not have higher rates of voter turnout,” Pedraza said. “In fact, in some places, turnout decreases after the passage of voter ID requirements.”
The valid forms of ID include a Texas driver’s license, a Texas personal ID card, a Texas concealed handgun license, a U.S. military ID with a photo, a U.S. citizenship certificate with a photo, a U.S. Passport and an Election ID Certificate.

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