Election teaches voter ID lesson

Posted Tuesday, Nov. 05, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Maybe former House Speaker Jim Wright, experienced political activist that he is, should have known better what it would take to get an approved ID card from the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Maybe his lack of foresight in gathering the necessary documents before applying for the ID on Saturday can be explained because, at age 90, he’s still a busy man.

Certainly state Sen. Wendy Davis and Attorney General Greg Abbott, who are expected to go head-to-head next year to see which one will be the next governor, should not have been surprised that they ran into minor ID-related snags when they voted early for Tuesday’s election.

Davis and Abbott had to sign affidavits attesting to their identity because the names on their driver’s licenses were slightly different from those on their voter certificates.

Maybe this won’t come up in next year’s party primaries, local elections or general election because the need for approved photo IDs at the polls is being contested in a federal lawsuit in Corpus Christi.

Still, the voter ID experience for Tuesday’s election on state constitutional amendments, bond packages for the Fort Worth school district and some other local jurisdictions and a few special votes on other very-local issues, was instructive.

Wright’s experience is worth attention, just maybe not so much for the same reason it has been cast: the venerable public servant, having devoted so much of his life to increase voter participation in elections, narrowly avoids being blocked from voting by a technicality.

That’s a compelling story, but the voter ID requirements and the necessary documentation have been publicized for months.

But note again that Wright is 90, a very respectable age. Many his age are not as active.

Those of us who have helped care for relatives at or near that age, or even quite a bit younger, know they sometimes need help with details — such as getting an approved ID card.

Now when they reach that difficult time when they must give up the license that allows them to drive legally, they may need help again. They’ll need the proper ID when we take them to the polling place to vote.

And so might we one day when someone takes us.

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