Elections

Few Voters Applying For Election Photo ID Cards

Only a few hundred voters have applied for Election Identification Certificates.

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txelecID.jpg
Photo courtesy of Texas DPS

The Texas Department of Public Safety is opening select offices, including nine Harris County locations, on Saturdays to issue Election Identification Certificates. The cards look similar to a driver license or state I.D. They include the voter’s photo, name and birthday. Election IDs are free and remain valid for six years, but so far, not many people have applied.

Tom Vinger is with the Texas DPS. He says only 341 Texans have been issued Election Identification Certificates since the program launched in June 2013.

“Many of the individuals who inquired about EICs already had the necessary photo identification required to vote,” he said.

That still leaves thousands of Texans without the ID they need to vote. Richard Murray is a political science professor at the University of Houston. He says the groups most likely not to have a photo ID are elderly voters, racial minorities and voters with little education.

“Minimally, you’re looking at 500,000 or 600,000 Texans who are age-eligible and are citizens but don’t have access to the photo ID that the law now requires,” he said.

But, Murray says, those who lack proper ID are not likely to be politically engaged, and giving them the option to get an election ID won’t change that.

“Practically speaking, it has virtually no impact on getting people registered,” he said.

Early voting has begun, and Election Day is November 4.


This map originally appeared in The Texas Observer article: Texas Has Issued Seven Times More Auctioneers’ Licenses than Voter ID Cards

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