At least one out of every seven early voters in Dallas County has had to sign an affidavit verifying his or her identity as part of Texas’ new voter ID law. Though no one in Dallas County has been prevented from voting — or even forced to cast a provisional ballot — because a name discrepancy, officials said women are being especially impacted by the requirements. And Toni Pippins-Poole, the county’s elections administrator, said the totals through the first five days of early voting for the Nov. 5 election are a conservative estimate of the potential inconvenience. “I know it’s more,” she said, adding that the totals don’t cover all polling locations. “Not all the reports have come through.” Most of the talk about the new voter identification law, which went into effect this summer, has focused on the requirement that voters present a government-issued photo ID to cast a ballot.
The law, cheered by Republicans and loathed by Democrats, details seven forms of photo identification that can be used to vote. Those options include everything from a Texas driver’s license to a concealed handgun license to the new election ID certificate.
But attention has now turned to another provision of the law that says the name on a voter’s photo ID must exactly match the name listed in the voter registration database.
If the names are “substantially similar,” a voter can sign affidavit to verify his or her identity and then vote as normal. An elections official must approve that affidavit, but poll workers are encouraged to “err on the side of the voter.”
As a last resort, a voter with a name discrepancy could vote provisionally and then provide additional supporting information at a later time. Provisional ballots are held until elections officials can verify that they should count.