Some states that have tightened their voter identification laws are using workarounds to avoid voting problems for women whose names have changed because of marriage or divorce – even as opponents of the laws warn there is still potential to disqualify female voters. Voter ID laws are intensely controversial: the Justice Department is currently suing Texas and North Carolina to block their new, stricter laws, and lawsuits in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have also prevented voter ID laws from being implemented. Legislators supporting voter ID laws say they are necessary to prevent voter fraud; opponents say laws requiring certain types of identification disproportionately affect minorities and the poor. They may also create problems for women who have changed their names after marriage or divorce, advocates say.
For example, Texas now requires a voter to show photo identification. If the name on the ID doesn’t match the name on voter rolls — for instance, if a woman’s name has changed because of marriage or divorce — the voter must sign an affidavit on the poll sheet asserting he or she is the same person.
One of those voters was state Sen. Wendy Davis, who gained national prominence in June for an 11-hour filibuster against a law restricting abortion. Davis, a Democrat who is now running for governor, opposed the voter ID law but got the affidavit procedure added as an amendment. On Monday, during the state’s early voting, Davis had to sign an affidavit while voting because her driver’s license includes her maiden name while her voter registration does not.
Full Article: State voter ID laws snare women with name changes.