Supreme Court Ruling Means Voter Identification Now Required in TexasFeatured Stories, News Tuesday, June 25th, 2013
News release from the Texas Secretary of State’s Office:
Texas Secretary of State John Steen today announced that photo identification will now be required when voting in Texas elections. His announcement follows a decision Tuesday by the U.S. Supreme Court that cleared the way for photo ID requirements in Texas, originally passed by the Texas Legislature in 2011, to take effect.
“My office is committed to making sure Texans have all the information they need to vote, including what forms of identification they need now that photo ID requirements are in effect,” said Secretary Steen.
A voter will be required to show one of the following forms of photo identification at the polling location before the voter will be permitted to cast a vote:
• Texas driver license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
• Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS
• Texas personal identification card issued by DPS
• Texas concealed handgun license issued by DPS
• United States military identification card containing the person’s photograph
• United States citizenship certificate containing the person’s photograph
• United States passport
With the exception of the U.S. citizenship certificate, the identification must be current or have expired no more than 60 days before being presented at the polling place.
Election identification certificates are now available only for voters who do not already have a required form of photo identification. There is no fee for the certificate. Information on how to obtain an election identification certificate can be found at www.dps.texas.gov. You may also contact DPS by telephone at (512) 424-2600.
To review frequently asked questions and answers, visit www.votetexas.gov.
Recap of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling from the Associated Press:
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Supreme Court says a key provision of the landmark Voting Rights Act cannot be enforced until Congress comes up with a new way of determining which states and localities require close federal monitoring of elections.
The justices said in 5-4 ruling Tuesday that the law Congress most recently renewed in 2006 relies on 40-year-old data that doesn’t reflect racial progress and changes in U.S. society.
The court did not strike down the advance approval requirement of the law that has been used, mainly in the South, to open up polling places to minority voters in the nearly half century since it was first enacted in 1965. But they said lawmakers must update the formula for determining which parts of the country must seek Washington’s approval for election changes.
Information from the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) if someone needs a photo ID:
On June 26, 2013, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will begin issuing Election Identification Certificates (EIC) to individuals who do not already have an acceptable form of photo identification (ID) to present when voting. Applications for the EIC will be accepted at DPS driver license offices across Texas.
If an applicant already has any of the following documents, they are not eligible to receive an EIC:
Texas driver license – unexpired or expired less than 60 days
Texas personal identification card – unexpired or expired less than 60 days
U.S. passport book or card – unexpired or expired less than 60 days
Texas concealed handgun license – unexpired or expired less than 60 days
U.S. Military identification with photo – unexpired or expired less than 60 days
U.S. Citizenship Certificate or Certificate of Naturalization with photo
To qualify for an EIC, applicants must be:
A U.S. citizen; a Texas resident; someone eligible to vote in Texas (show a valid voter registration card or submit a voter registration application when applying for the EIC); and the person is 17 years and 10 months or older.
Beginning June 26, individuals may apply for an EIC by visiting a Texas driver license office and completing an EIC application (DL-14C). Applicants must also bring the following items to the office to verify U.S. citizenship and identity.
The EIC receipt an individual receives will include their photo and can be used for voting until the permanent card is delivered by mail.
The EIC is free of charge to qualifying applicants and is valid for six years. There is no expiration date of an EIC for citizens 70 years of age or older.
The EIC can only be used for the purpose of voting in an election and may not be used as personal identification.
Residents with a documented disability may apply at their county voter registrar for a permanent exemption from the photo ID requirement. If approved, they will not need a photo ID to vote. Also, if individuals are voting by mail, they do not have to submit a photo ID.
For more information on the requirements, exemptions and process for obtaining an EIC, please visit: http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/DriverLicense/electionID.htm.
For more information on voting in Texas, visit the Secretary of State’s website at http://www.sos.state.tx.us/.
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