It’s another election season in Texas. Another year that we’re on track to maintain the nation’s most dismal voter turnout. One difference this year is that voters are now required to present photo ID at the polls, the result of Republican-authored legislation ostensibly to deal with the diminishingly small number of voter fraud cases. It’s difficult to say what effect the voter ID requirement is having, though even some Republican state officials apparently knew that more than half a million registered Texas voters—disproportionately Hispanic and African American—lacked the credentials to cast ballots but didn’t bother to tell lawmakers. One thing is certain: Very, very few Texans have gotten election identification certificates (EIC), the new state-issued form of photo ID for those who don’t have it—340 Texans, to be precise.
That’s less than two thousandths of a percent of Texas’ voting age population. That’s only a little more than one EIC for each of Texas’ 254 counties. And many counties haven’t had a single citizen obtain an EIC. Another way to slice the numbers: There are more licensed auctioneers (2,454) in Texas than there are people with EICs—more than seven times as many in fact. In Harris County, with more than 4.3 million people, a poverty rate of 18 percent and 70 percent people of color, there are 186 licensed auctioneers but just 21 EICs. There are more licenses for boxing judges in Lubbock County (4) than there are voters with EICs (3). There are more licensed elevator inspectors in Dallas County (35) than voters with EICs (28). And so on….
“It’s heartbreaking,” said Myrna Perez, deputy director of the voting rights project at the Brennan Center for Justice. “The information about the EIC has been dreadful. Nobody knows about it.”
Full Article: Texas Has Issued More Auctioneer’s Licenses than Voter IDs.