First, Judge Sandra Watts was stopped while trying to vote because the name on her photo ID, the same one she had used for voter registration and identification for 52 years, did not exactly match her name on the official voter rolls. A few days later, state Senator Wendy Davis, a Democrat who became a national celebrity after her filibuster over a new abortion law, had the same problem in early voting. So did her likely Republican opponent in next year’s governor’s race, Attorney General Greg Abbott. They were all able to vote after signing affidavits attesting that they were who they claimed to be. But not Jim Wright, a former speaker of the House in Washington, whose expired driver’s license meant he could not vote until he went home and dug a certified copy of his birth certificate out of a box. On Tuesday, Texas unveiled its tough new voter ID law, the only state to do so this year, and the rollout was sometimes rocky. But interviews with opponents and supporters of the new law, which required voters for the first time to produce a state-approved form of photo identification to vote, suggest that in many parts of the state, the law’s first day went better than critics had expected.
There was a relatively limited number of cases during early voting in which voters with improper IDs were required to submit provisional ballots, which will be counted only if the people come back with a valid ID within six days. Officials said that statewide, 2,354 provisional ballots were cast this election, which is about 0.2 percent of voters. In the last off-year election, in 2011, there were 738, or 0.1 percent of the ballots cast that year.
Officials also said that there was little traffic at the offices set up by the state to provide free voter ID documents for those without another approved form of identification. By Election Day, only 121 voter identification documents had been issued statewide.