What started out as a plan to mitigate the hardship caused by Texas’ new voter ID law has turned into a much-needed service that will benefit the people of Fort Worth in other ways.
This week, through a county/state partnership, the Department of Public Safety opened a new driver’s license office in southeast Fort Worth, the first such office located inside Loop 820.
The office is in the Charles F. Griffin Sub-Courthouse, one of several county facilities in a high-traffic area on Miller Avenue that is convenient for a large number of low-income people.
Commissioner Roy C. Brooks told the Star-Telegram Editorial Board that as he began to investigate ways to address the impact of the voter ID law on his constituents, he realized that there were needs for other state IDs in addition to the Texas Election Identification Certificate.
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He noted particularly ex-offenders coming out of the criminal justice system who must have ID cards in order to apply for jobs and get apartments.
Residents already could get vehicle registrations at the Miller Avenue location. These added services provide them more accessibility to required documents that previously would have called for longer trips.
Most of those locations outside Loop 820 could not be reached by public transit.
Brooks, who worked with State Rep. Lon Burnam in making the project a reality, praised what he called a “new model” in state/county cooperation.
He said the new driver’s license office in Fort Worth is one of the first in the state in which the county provides the space and the state provides the personnel.
During a dedication ceremony Tuesday, Burnam focused on what he called the “terrible, racist” voter ID law that “we have to live under for now.”
He said the new office “means the people of inner Fort Worth will be more able to clear the hurdles for voting under the law Attorney General Abbott is busy defending in court.”
The important thing is that there has long been a need for this service in southeast Fort Worth, and that two people who represent the area — along with DPS — found a way to make it happen.