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Former U.S. house speaker Jim Wright denied voting ID in Texas

By George Chidi
Sunday, November 3, 2013 21:57 EDT
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Voting booth via AFP
 
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Voting rights advocates have been worried about Texas’ new voter ID laws and how they might make things harder for people of color, poor people, and married women to cast a ballot.

But netting a former U.S. congressman?

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Sunday that former House Speaker Jim Wright was denied a voter ID card Saturday at a Texas Department of Public Safety office.

Wright, 90, served in Congress as a Democratic representative from Texas for 34 years, until resigning in 1989. Wright said he had voted in every election since 1944.

Wright went to the DPS office with an assistant to get a State of Texas Election Identification Certificate. His existing photo identifications — a Texas driver’s license that expired in 2010 and a Texas Christian University faculty ID — did not satisfy requirements of the voter ID law, he told the Star-Telegram.

Wright plans to return to the office Monday with a certified copy of his birth certificate, which the DPS employees say will entitle him to a Texas personal identification card, designed specifically for people who do not drive.

Texas passed some of the most restrictive voter ID rules in the nation, which have been allowed by recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings invalidating part of the Voting Rights Act. A voter must have proof of citizenship — a passport or certified copy of a birth certificate — and two other pieces of identification such as a driver license expired less than two years, a voter registration card, school records, military records or a Social Security card, to receive an ID valid for voting.

 
 
 
 
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