Just how tough are new voter identification requirements inTexas? Apparently tough enough that former U.S. House speaker Jim Wrightreportedly was denied a voter ID card on Saturday.
"Nobodywas ugly to us, but they insisted that they wouldn't give me an ID,"Wright, a Democrat who resigned from Congress in 1989, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in a story about his experience at a Texas Department of Public Safety office.
The 90-year-old told the newspaper he realized last week thathe didn't have a valid ID to vote in Tuesday's elections. He was refuseda voter ID card because his driver's license expired in 2010 and hisfaculty identification from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth,where he teaches, doesn't meet requirements under the state law enactedin 2011.
Election officials have said voters without avalid photo ID can cast a provisional ballot by signing an affidavitattesting to their identity. That's what Texas state Sen. Wendy Davisand Attorney General Greg Abbott, who are likely to face each other innext year's gubernatorial election, had to do recently. The names thatDavis and Abbott use on their driver's licenses don't match the onesthat are on the voter rolls.
"I earnestly hope these undulystringent requirements on voters won't dramatically reduce the number ofpeople who vote," said Wright, who in the early part of his politicalcareer pushed to abolish the poll tax. "I think they will reduce thenumber to some extent."
Wright and his assistant, Norma Ritchson,told the Fort Worth newspaper they will return to the Department ofPublic Safety on Monday with a copy of his birth certificate.