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Fort Worth man tears up registration card in protest of Voter ID law

Posted Tuesday, Nov. 05, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Kendall McCook said he felt he had to stand up for his rights Tuesday.

So he headed to the polls at Daggett Elementary School, where he handed over his voter registration card to vote in the constitutional amendment election. But when he was asked for a current photo ID, he refused.

“I told them as far as I was concerned, the law was unconstitutional and would be found unconstitutional,” said McCook, 68, a longtime voter who describes himself as a Roosevelt Democrat. “People have fought through the years for the right to vote.

“I refused to show my driver’s license because the right to vote should not be infringed on.”

So McCook did something he never thought he would do.

The retired schoolteacher and farmer went home and tore up his voter registration card, vowing to not cast another ballot until the state’s Voter ID law, which is in effect statewide for the first time this election, is overturned.

“I find myself completely outside a system I have supported wholeheartedly all my life,” he said. “I was one of those people who worked for human rights.

“I will not give in to that law. Why should I have to have a photo ID when I’ve been voting in the same place for years?”

Tarant County Elections Administrator Steve Raborn said he heard very few complaints about voting problems Tuesday and that he had not heard about McCook’s protest.

He did receive one complaint, from an election judge who said a voter complained about not being asked for a photo ID.

Voter ID law

Texas’ Voter ID law was passed by the Republican-led Legislature in 2011, but had not been put into effect until this year because of various lawsuits and legal challenges.

Republican leaders, including Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, have vigorously defended the law, saying it’s needed to prevent voter fraud. He tweeted Tuesday afternoon that the law was not a problem at the polls.

“Voter ID critics turn a blind eye to illegal voting and instead rail against voter ID as discriminatory and disenfranchising,” Abbott wrote in an op-ed last year. “The facts prove otherwise. Opponents of voter ID were unable to produce a single Texan who would be unable to vote because of the voter ID law.

“States with voter ID laws have seen minority vote participation increase, not decrease,” he wrote.

But U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, who went on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show this week to talk about his concerns, is among those who have been fighting the law, fearful it will prevent Texans from casting ballots.

“I believe that we should be making it easier for Texans to exercise their right to vote, not more difficult, and I will continue to stand up for the right to vote,” he said.

Local concerns

McCook’s move comes days after former U.S. House Speaker Jim Wright of Fort Worth was turned away from obtaining a state ID card to use to vote because he had an expired driver’s license.

Wright did obtain a state ID card Monday that would work to vote and said he cast his ballot Tuesday morning with no problems.

“It worked just fine, no problems,” he said.

Republicans have blasted Wright’s complaints, saying the only reason he didn’t get an ID card the first time was that he knowingly didn’t follow the rules.

Anna Tinsley, 817-390-7610

Twitter: @annatinsley

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