“Texas’ Stringent Voter ID Law Makes a Dent at Polls”


On Tuesday, Texas unveiled its tough new voter ID law, the only state to do so this year, and the rollout was sometimes rocky. But interviews with opponents and supporters of the new law, which required voters for the first time to produce a state-approved form of photo identification to vote, suggest that in many parts of the state, the law’s first day went better than critics had expected.

There was a relatively limited number of cases during early voting in which voters with improper IDs were required to submit provisional ballots, which will be counted only if the people come back with a valid ID within six days. Officials said that statewide, 2,354 provisional ballots were cast this election, which is about 0.2 percent of voters. In the last off-year election, in 2011, there were 738, or 0.1 percent of the ballots cast that year.

Officials also said that there was little traffic at the offices set up by the state to provide free voter ID documents for those without another approved form of identification. By Election Day, only 121 voter identification documents had been issued statewide.

But the law’s opponents and some county elections officials warned against judging its effectiveness on the basis of this year’s relatively minor statewide election. The real tests, they say, will come next year, when Texas will elect a new governor, and in 2016’s presidential race.


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