Texas Voter ID law disproportionately affects women

You have to hand it to Texas. Abortion politics threaten to drive the election for governor, so they have figured out a way to discourage a large group of women who are likely have a personal interest in the issue of choice: married women of child-bearing age. Women who might favor Wendy Davis.”

Thanks, S.

11 thoughts on “Texas Voter ID law disproportionately affects women

  1. Thanks for this. It has to be the most brazen attempt yet by Rethugs to discourage a voting bloc. Utterly disgusting.

  2. I’m interested in reading further demographic analysis of how this will affect people. On the fact of it, it’s as likely to hurt Republicans as it will hurt Democrats. We know that while women in general in the US lean Democratic, married women are more split. And I would imagine, though I don’t have the empirical evidence in front of me, that women who do not change their names upon marriage lean more heavily Democratic than women who do (and this law only affects women who change their names).

    So there’s something else going on here, and I suspect it has to do with where gender intersects with race, class, and ethnicity.

  3. It’s repugnant to put a greater burden on one group than another. Still, it’s not clear that these restrictions will help the pro-life/anti-choice cause. Among 20-45 year olds, a greater percentage of men than women age 20-45 favor the legality of abortion under some circumstances (e.g., when the mother doesn’t want any more children), and a greater percentage of women than men think abortion should be illegal under any circumstances. (Source: General Social Survey 2000-2012, a nationally representative survey run out of the National Opinion Research Center at the UofChicago since 1972.)

    It’s a religion thing. Women are, on average, more religious, and religious people are, on average, more likely to be anti-choice.

  4. Yes, except this all no longer looks true.

    The Texas motor vehicle department is now issuing FREE voter ID cards which meet the voting requirement for a photo ID. Basically, all you need to do is to submit proof of citizenship and you can get a card.

    Further, if you go in to get one of these, you cannot be waylaid by someone who has looked up your record and seen unpaid parking tickets, fines, etc.

    I spent a little time looking around and I can’t find the background on this. I heard about it on the radio yesterday and I was actually shocked, since I’d heard about all those who supposedly can’t vote. Maybe the gov’t lawsuits actually worked.

  5. Anne’s post at #4 helps get at this a bit more. I suspect this motor vehicle thing is where the real ugliness will come out. If Texas Republicans are doing this as a partisan thing – and I’m assuming they are – we’ve now got a hypothesis: the Texas motor vehicle department’s free voter ID cards are set up in such a way that women who vote Democratic will be less likely to get an ID (perhaps because they’re not as accessible to Spanish speaking communities or black women).

  6. Matt, interesting thought. The thing is, the motor vehicle places are already in place. But I’ll see if I can find anything in how this is working out in Houston.

  7. Houston Chronicle; Sept 25:

    Only nine Texans carry the state’s free election identification certificate, created to counter fears that the new voter identification law would block some from polling places.

    Secretary of State John Steen unveiled a campaign Tuesday to increase that number before the first elections under the new law this November.

    From the lobby of Holman Street Baptist Church, Steen said the politically savvy parish would be one of the first locations visited by a mobile sign-up team, one of dozens targeting Texas ZIP codes where voter registration information does not perfectly match state driver’s license data.

    Equipped with a laptop, camera and backdrop, the two-person mobile units will clarify which six forms of identification will ensure a voter’s ballot counts under the controversial new law, and, if needed, complete the paperwork for one of the election certificates. The campaign will continue through the 2014 elections.

    Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart and Tax Assessor-Collector Mike Sullivan supported the state’s registration efforts and are expected to announce their own voter education drives in coming weeks. Both encouraged people who can afford the $6 to $16 state personal ID card to apply for one instead of an election identification certificate because it has more accepted uses.

    Earlier this month, the Department of Public Safety announced50 driver’s license offices, 11 of them in Harris County, would be open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays solely to issue the certificates.

    Steen declined to guess how many people may need one. “It’s a little bit of an X factor, but we want to reach everybody that doesn’t have one of the six approved forms of ID,” he said.

    Deputy Secretary of State Coby Shorter said the office’s ZIP code analysis identified about 700,000 registered voters for whom they could not find driver’s licenses or whose information did not match that on their driver’s licenses.

    “I’m one of those people who aren’t a perfect match,” Shorter said. “But I have a photo ID and can vote.”

    That number has fired up many Democrats and voter advocates who condemned the 2011 law and continue to fight it in courts. The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for its implementation with a ruling in June despite concerns it could restrict some voters’ ability to exercise their basic democratic right.

    Chad Dunn, a lawyer for the Texas Democratic Party, pointed to the few people issued an election identification certificate as proof that thousands of eligible voters will not have an acceptable identification to get into polls.

    “The most widely held ID is a driver’s license. People who don’t have that are not likely to have a concealed handgun license or passport,” he said.

    Dunn said the mobile campaign would be inadequate to address the gap, in part, because so many are affected and some eligible voters simply do not have the documents needed to be issued a certificate.

    Texas Republican Chairman Steve Munisteri applauded the mobile sign-up campaign and saw a different meaning in the low number of certificates issued: fears of blocking voters from the polls are unfounded.

    He suggested the secretary of state’s count of voter registrations that did not match driver’s licenses strengthen arguments for the law.

    “Some of those people are registered at an address where they’re not at,” Munisteri said. “The state is making it so easy for people to register to be able to vote.”

  8. The whole idea that it’s easy to get these certificates falls apart if you’ve ever been to a Texas driver’s license office. These are dreadful, crowded places where you have to sit and wait for your number to be called, sometimes for hours. They have limited hours, forcing people to miss work or wait months for a day off on a business day. By that time, election day could easily be a thing of the past. One reason this rule change is so outrageous is that it will make voting for the elderly much harder. The idea they’re going to arrange transport to these congested offices and wait for hours for certificates is ludicrous.

  9. JK, they are helping themselves to great publicity. In fact, the driver’s thing will be open for the Saturdays until the election.

    I think we know that lots of democrats won’t get to vote, but I’m not sure how that will be done.

  10. The claim that “Texans must show a photo ID with their up-to-date legal name” is completely false. The requirement is to show ID with a name that matches the name on the roll of registered voters. A woman who has updated neither ID nor registration (or updated both) can vote with no problems. The law has a provision to vote after signing an identity affidavit if the ID and registration names are “substantially similar”, which is explicitly defined to include “former name” (see item 7 in link below).

    Even if poll workers deny the affidavit option those without ID can vote on a provisional ballot and they have 6 days to present proof of identity to local voting officials and have their vote counted (see item 4).


    The claim that “only 66% of voting age women have ready access to a photo document that will attest to proof of citizenship” is also false. It cites a Brennan Center study whose actual finding is that only 66% of women have a birth certificate, naturalization certificate or passport in their current name. Someone establishing proof of identity after a name change doesn’t use just the birth/naturalization certificate – they need additional material documenting their name change.

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