For years, Stephanie Cochran has voted without any problems. But when she went to the polls Tuesday in her upscale, diverse neighborhood here, things went a lot less smoothly—thanks to Texas’ strict new voter ID law. On the voter rolls, she’s listed as Stephanie Gilardo Cochran, while on her driver’s license, she’s Stephanie G. Cochran—a mismatch common to married or divorced women including Wendy Davis, the likely Democratic candidate for governor next year. As a result, Cochran faced what she described as a barrage of questions from poll workers about the discrepancy. In the end, Cochran was able to vote by signing an affidavit in which she swore, on penalty of perjury, that she was who she claimed to be. But the experience left her angry: She told msnbc that she sees the law as an attempt to keep women from the polls. “It’s against us,” Cochran said. “It’s to keep us from voting for Wendy.”
In the same boat was Leah McInnis, who even had her voter registration card with her. Nonetheless, thanks to a similar mismatch involving her maiden name, McInnis had to sign an affidavit to cast her ballot.
That experience appears to have been typical statewide. Tuesday’s off-year election was a dry run for Texas’ controversial voter ID law. On the surface things went pretty smoothly, with few voters forced to cast provisional ballots. That was enough for the law’s Republican supporters to claim vindication. But there were signs of potential trouble to come. There are no hard statistics yet, but apparently a significant number of voters had to sign affidavits—a relatively simple procedure, but one that could cause problems in higher turnout elections. And of course, with one in ten Texans lacking ID by one estimate, it’s all but impossible to measure the number of people who were deterred by the law from voting.
Next year’s highly anticipated governor’s race and the 2016 presidential election will offer a far tougher test for the law, which was passed in 2011, blocked last year by the Justice Department under the Voting Rights Act, then reinstated after the Supreme Court weakened the VRA in June. For now, it looks to be acting simply as one more factor, among several, to complicate the process and discourage potential voters—especially those likely to have trouble meeting the law’s requirements.
Full Article: Texas voting suggests trouble on the horizon | MSNBC.