With the new Texas voter ID bill now under scrutiny at the Department of Justice, Democrats are pressing Rep. Larry Gonzales, R-Round Rock, to present information proving the legislation will not infringe on minority voter’s rights. In an interview with YNN on Oct. 14, Gonzales responded to a report released by the Secretary of State that found 605,576 registered voters lack a state-issued driver’s license or identification card.
“What the Democrats aren’t taking into consideration is the numbers they saw do not include all 7 forms of identification (allowed under the new law),” Gonzales said. “We feel confident once all the forms are included, no one will be disenfranchised and people will have access to the polls.”
That assertion influenced Texas Democratic Chairman Boyd Richie to file an open records request with Gonzales’ office calling for data to back up his statement. Gonzales responded to Richie’s request with a list of the seven allowable forms of identification under the photo ID law and a news article. “Once all forms of identification are included no one should be without an acceptable form of identification,” Gonzales said.
In the Secretary of State’s report of registered voters without a driver’s license or identification card, it did not include those voters which possess a passport, concealed handgun license, military identification card or an election identification certificate.
“Larry Gonzales is flat out lying about the fact that he voted to disenfranchise his own constituents,” said Texas Democratic Party spokeswoman Rebecca Acuña said in a statement. “The sole purpose of the Republican voter suppression legislation is to disenfranchise the voters who don’t support his party’s failed policies.”
Gov. Rick Perry signed the bill after deeming it an emergency item in the legislative session earlier this year. Since then, the law has faced criticism from Democrats and a coalition of civil rights groups, such as the Texas State Conference of the NAACP and The Young Voters Education Fund.